One of the best rivalries that has never been is finally upon us.
Tucker vs. Stephenson.
The two DeKalb powers, who are tied with county neighbor M.L. King for first place in 6-AAAAA, will meet for the first time in the schools’ histories at Hallford Stadium on Friday in the first of three games among the three teams that will determine the top three seeds in 6-AAAAA.
The Tigers and Jaguars have a lot in common. Both are undefeated and in the top four of the AJC rankings (Tucker is No. 2, Stephenson is No. 4); both offenses are among the top six in Class AAAAA (Tucker is No. 1 at 47.8 points per game, Stephenson is No. 6 at 40.8); and both defenses are among the top seven in AAAAA (Stephenson is No. 5 at 6.3 points per game allowed, Tucker is No. 7 at 8.2).
Tucker leads DeKalb in rushing with 368 yards per game and has the county’s two leading runners in Yusuf Minor and Dallas Rivers. Stephenson, led by Evans Jones, is second in the county with an average of 264.
So who wins? And how big will it be when the winner meets M.L. King later this season?
This should be a great one.
Here are some of the other games in Class AAAAA this week that will have playoff implications:
*Northgate at Creekside: Northgate won a region title in 2011 but is off to a 2-4 start against a difficult schedule after last week’s close loss to 4-AAAAA favorite Whitewater, but a victory against Creekside would put the Vikings back in the playoff hunt. Creekside would all but clinch a spot in the region play-in games with a victory.
*Rome at North Paulding: If East Paulding and Allatoona finish in the top two spots in 5-AAAAA, as many expect, then this game is likely to determine the third- and fourth-place teams. Rome and North Paulding are in good position for playoff berths after beating fifth-place Hiram.
*Clarke Central at Heritage-Conyers: Clarke Central will be short-handed for its 8-AAAAA game against Heritage after five players, including quarterback Cameron Johnson, were ejected from last week’s game against Salem and have to serve a one-game penalty. Heritage probably needs to win this game if it has any hopes of finishing higher than fourth place in the region.