He may not be the most heavily recruited of this typically talent-laden Tucker bunch, but he knows how to open a show.
Tucker fullback Dallas Rivers had 12 carries for 114 yards and three touchdowns, as the Class AAAAA No. 2 Tigers opened the season with 36-14 win over Class AAA No. 8 Cedar Grove.
At 5-foot-11, 183 pounds, he looks more like a battering ram than most of Tucker’s lean, fast backfield mates. Speed may kill, but sometimes it’s just as effective to run through a would-be tackler as it is to run around him.
“I’m a combination of both – speed and power,” Rivers said. “I love contact.”
It was far more than just Rivers, though, for the Tucker rushing game. Rivers, Yusuf Minor and Joseph Farrar all rushed for more than 100 yards, and each scored at least once as the Tigers amassed 408 yards on the ground.
That’s the gameplan that’s kept Tucker near the top of the state for several years now, and it worked perfectly out of the gate once again.
If there was any question what these Tigers would look like after two-time state champion coach Franklin Stephens left in the offseason, consider those questions answered.
“We’ve got a lot of the same guys in place,” Tucker coach Bryan Lamar said. “Coach (Todrick) Malone, our offensive coordinator, had a great gameplan going in; he’s been our offensive coordinator for the past six years. We pretty much tried to keep things the same; we’ve got a great formula put together.”
It was no different on the other side of the ball either.
Things started bad for the Saints (0-1) and didn’t get much better. They began the game’s opening drive on their own 1-yard line after a botched kickoff return. Then, on the first play, Tucker’s Joseph Farrar yanked Jamir Hannah down in the end zone for a safety.
That was just the beginning for a Tucker defense that rarely let up, particularly during a first half when Cedar Grove was held to 50 total yards and had negative yardage on nine of its 23 offensive plays.
The Saints got a little bit more going in the second half, but it was one dimensional, too little and far too late to catch up with Tucker.
For Lamar, it was the debut he wanted to see from his Tigers.
“This is what we wanted,” Lamar said. “These kids know me. I know Tucker. I’ve been there. I love the guys; I love the community. We just wanted to get back to rolling.”
C 0 0 6 8 – 14
T 9 6 21 0 – 36
T – Joseph Farrar safety
T – Dallas Rivers 13 run (Steven Duffy kick)
T – Yusef Minor 23 run (pass failed)
T – Rivers 10 run (Duffy kick)
C – Shane Ward 30 pass from Johnathan McCrary (kick missed)
T – Rivers 44 run (Duffy kick)
T – Farrar 29 run (Duffy kick)
C – Deion Sellers 51 pass from Johnathan McCrary (Chandler Ector pass from James Hartfield)