Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tucker 28, Northside-Warner Robins 7

Tucker’s defense eliminated all options, literally and figuratively, to secure a 28-7 win over Northside-Warner Robins in the second round of the 6A playoffs.

Northside’s triple-option offense, which normally creates mismatches for the opposition, was held in check against the muscle and speed of the Tigers' defense, failing to mount any success after its first possession of the game.

“We worked hard and the coaches coached well this week. We started out slow and gave them a touchdown on the opening drive. We made some adjustments and we were good for the rest of the game,” said Tucker head coach Bryan Lamar. “Guys just have to do their job. With the option you got dive, quarterback and pitch. It’s different blocking schemes. You can't overcompensate. When guys do their job, we’re successful. This is a new season. We’re 2-0. We’re excited about the win and we have to keep working.”

Northside pounded the ball hard up the middle on its lone trip to the end zone. Marcus Jolley hammered his way in from four yards out and a 7-0 lead. This was the last celebratory moment for the Eagles.

After being shut down early on, Tucker’s offense came alive in the second quarter.

Josh Vann showed why he’s one of the elite wide receivers in the state by soaring skyward to catch Travon Ford’s pass at its highest peak for a 12-yard touchdown.

Both teams would remain deadlocked at 7-7 heading into intermission.

As the game progressed, Tucker momentum continued to tread upward behind its ferocious defense. The offense built on this vibe, stringing together another scoring drive with Ford and Vann adding to their totals in the box score.

In a mirror image play, Vann once again hauled in a towering touchdown pass for a 14-7 lead.

“I saw the matchup was in my favor and made the play. All week, we were watching film on their secondary. The coaches came up with strategies to help us win,” said Vann, who had nine receptions for 117 yards and two scores.

Northside looked poised to respond as it drove downfield on the ensuing possession. However, the drive came to a screeching halt following a fumble at the 8-yard line. This critical miscue proved to be the turning point which sealed their fate.

Tucker posted two fourth-quarter touchdowns with long runs by Dale Davis and Ford to put the game out of reach for Northside.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Northside head coach Kevin Kinsler. “They did a good job of making adjustments. We got down inside the 10 you got a chance to tie it up, and you lay it on the ground. We can’t make those kinds of mistakes against good football teams. I’m proud of my guys. They gave everything they had. We just ran out of bullets.”

This victory marks the second year in a row Tucker upended Northside in the playoffs. Last year, the Tigers earned a 22-7 win to advance to the state title game.

The 207 version of this duel results in the Tigers moving forward to the third round and a date with Allatoona. The Buccaneers defeated Dacula 14-13 in their second-round contest.

Tucker gave up a stingy 10 points per game in the regular season. In the playoffs, its allowed a total of 14 points.

“We deserve to be the No. 1 team in 6A. We showed it tonight. Nobody can run or pass against us. When everybody does their job, we shut them down,” said defensive end Antonio Showers.

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