Last Friday night was a tough one for your DeKalb County football team if you weren’t wearing maroon and gold OR hunter green, white and black.
Eight county teams saw action this weekend. Tucker and Arabia Mountain were the only two that came out on top in their initial tests of the season. In two cases DeKalb teams were beating up on each other, but county teams did nothing to improve their records against non-county teams this week. Here’s a recap of Friday night’s action.
Cedar Grove at Tucker
There’s a quote on the Tucker football website home page that reads: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The Tigers were very lucky Friday night.
The Tigers (1-0) used a punishing rushing attack and smothering defense to pull off a dominating, season-opening victory over highly regarded county rival Cedar Grove Friday night at Hallford Stadium.
Tucker FB Dallas Rivers rushed 12 times for 114 yards and scored three TDs, and RBs Yusuf Minor and Joseph Farrar each had a TD and over 100 yards rushing as the Tigers, ranked #2 in Class AAAAA, never trailed in the 36-14 win over the Saints who were ranked #7 in Class AAA.
The Class AAAA defending state champion Tigers (Tucker moved up to Reg. 6, AAAAA this year) amassed 411 total offensive yards and showed they’re ready to continue winning games – and maybe state championships – by leveraging one of the state’s strongest ground games.
Things started badly for the Saints (0-1) and didn’t get much better. They started their first drive on their own 1-yard line after a botched kickoff return. Then, on Cedar Grove’s first offensive play, Tucker’s Eddie Ivey tackled Anthony Lattimore in the end zone for a safety.
Tucker’s defense was hitting on all cylinders in the first half, holding the Saints to just 50 total yards. Cedar Grove had negative yardage on nine of its 23 first half offensive plays.
The Saints, with All-State pick Johnathon McCrary at QB, played better in the second half, but it was too little, too late against the determined Tigers. Tucker’s defense limited McCrary to 92 passing yards and Cedar Grove to 184 yards of total offense.
Tucker iced the game with two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the third quarter on a 44-yard run by Rivers and a 29-yard run by Farrar. Steven Duffy added both PATs to send the Tigers into the fourth quarter with a 36-6 lead.
Cedar Grove added a 61-yard touchdown run by Deion Sellers and a two-point conversion which made the final score 36-14.
The Tigers have now won 16 straight games. Anyone who doubted the talented Tigers would again be a championship contender under first year head coach Bryan Lamar had better think again.
Tucker is off next week before taking on North Atlanta at Grady High’s stadium September 7 at 8 PM. Cedar Grove hosts Columbia at Panthersville Stadium Friday at 7:30 PM.
Holy Innocents at Lakeside
This was my game at Adams Stadium and the house was rocking with both schools bringing out fans in good numbers. The Lakeside section was packed and the band and cheerleaders did a great job keeping the fans energized. Sadly, it wasn’t enough as the Vikings fell 20-14 in a game that was more competitive than most expected.
Class AAAAA Lakeside (0-1) took an early 7-0 lead but the Class A Golden Bears (1-0) responded quickly to tie it at 7-7. Both teams had some success on offense in the first half and Lakeside scored again before halftime and took a 14-7 lead into the locker room.
In the second half the teams looked sloppier offensively and there were more penalties than either coach would have liked, especially Lakeside’s Mike Rozier. The Golden Bears scored in the third quarter and then again midway through the 4th quarter but missed the extra point on the second TD to make the score 20-14.
With over four minutes remaining in the game, the Vikings took possession inside their own 10-yard line needing a TD and PAT to win. QB Nick Alexander drove Lakeside close to midfield but his pass attempt on 4th down with about a minute remaining fell incomplete and the Bears were able to run out the clock.
Game action aside, I had one of those moments Friday night that remind me why I love high school football so much. Just before halftime someone brought an announcement up to the press box for me to read. Scrawled in pencil, it was from the Lakeside QB and read: "#12 in Purple Nick Alexander has an important question to ask a special girl: [Insert Name Here] - will you go to homecoming with me??"
I made the announcement just after the band finished at halftime and the crowd loved it! Everyone was looking around for the young lady and urging her to say yes. She wasn't hard to find, sitting in the middle of the crowd with all her friends laughing and pointing at her. I needled her a little bit - good-naturedly, of course - about “what's it gonna be?” and she was smiling a mile wide, but she never gave me a direct yes. I hope Alexander got the answer he wanted after the game.
Lakeside is off this week. The Vikings take on Dunwoody September 7 at 7:30 PM in a game currently scheduled for North DeKalb Stadium.
Stone Mountain at Greater Atlanta Christian
GAC jumped out to an early lead, then fought off a late Stone Mountain rally to win 34-26 in the teams’ season opener.
The Class AA Spartans (1-0) seemed to be on cruise control after a 1-yard TD run by Corey Stevenson gave them a 34-14 lead with seven minutes to play. But Stone Mountain (0-1) stormed back with incredible plays on consecutive drives to make things interesting. In both cases, Pirates’ quarterback Corderal Cook evaded pursuing Spartan defenders and threw long downfield passes to WR Sammy Johnson. The second completion, for an 86-yard TD, gave the Pirates hope but GAC was able to run out the clock for the win.
Cook completed 10 of 14 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns for Stone Mountain. Johnson caught all three TDs passes and ended up with 177 receiving yards.
Stone Mountain takes on North Atlanta at Avondale Stadium this Friday at 7:30 PM.
South Atlanta at Lithonia
In the first game of a double-header at Panthersville Stadium, South Atlanta (1-0) defeated Lithonia (0-1) 34-19. The visiting Hornets outscored Lithonia 27-12 in the second half to seal the season-opening victory.
Lithonia takes on Miller Grove in the first game of a Hallford Stadium double-header at 5:15 this Friday.
Clarkston at Arabia Mountain
In the second game of the double-header at Panthersville, the Arabia Mountain Rams (1-0) walloped the Clarkston Angoras (0-1) 41-0.
Arabia Mountain has the week off before taking on Stephenson in the nightcap of a Hallford Stadium doubleheader at 8 PM Friday September 7. Clarkston plays Druid Hills at Adams Stadium at 7:30 PM this Friday.
Jackson-Atlanta at Towers
Jackson-Atlanta (1-0) used two interceptions and a 28-yard TD catch by Roderick Collier to pull away in a 31-4 season opening win over Towers (0-1) Friday night at Avondale Stadium.
One of Collier’s interceptions was returned for a 90-yard TD. Quarterback Shadricus Ferguson threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns for Jackson-Atlanta, while Jamario Neal had four catches for 115 yards and a 21-yard scoring grab.
Towers scored on two fourth-quarter safeties to avoid the shutout.
Towers is off this week before taking on North Atlanta at Grady High’s stadium Saturday September 8 at 7 PM.
Week 2 Schedule
Here’s this week’s schedule of games involving county teams. Check back Thursday for game previews.
Thursday, Aug. 30
Chamblee (0-0) vs. Dunwoody (0-0), Adams, 7:30 PM
Friday, Aug. 31
Columbia (0-0) vs. Cedar Grove (0-1), Panthersville, 5:15 PM
Cross Keys (0-0) vs. Best Academy (0-0), Grady, 5:30 PM
Clarkston (0-1) vs. Druid Hills (0-0), Adams, 7:30 PM
Lithonia (0-1) vs. Miller Grove (0-0), Hallford, 5:15 PM
M.L. King (0-0) vs. Stockbridge (0-0), Tri-Cities, 7:30 PM
SW DeKalb (0-0) at Pebblebrook (0-0), 7:30 PM
North Atlanta (0-0) vs. Stone Mountain (0-1), Avondale, 7:30 PM
St. Pius (0-0) at Westminster (0-1), 7:30 PM
Marist (0-0) at Clark Central (0-0), Athens, 7:30 PM
Troup Co. (0-0) vs. Redan (0-0), Hallford, 8 PM
Osborne vs. McNair (0-0), Panthersville, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 1
Stephenson (0-0) vs. Pensacola-Pine Forest, North Gwinnett, 3 PM
Bye Week: Arabia Mountain (1-0), Lakeside (0-1), Towers (0-1), Tucker (1-0)
John Becker is a 30-year Atlanta resident, currently living in Virginia-Highland. John’s a freelance writer and an avid high school, college and pro football fan (much to the detriment of most other productive activities during the fall). As the Voice of Adams Stadium (public address announcer), John brings a unique perspective to his analysis of high school football in DeKalb County and he looks forward to sharing his insight with fans through his blog.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter at @JNBecker.