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Football Recap: Tucker Advances to State Semifinals

Tigers shutout Ware County 29-0.

Credit: Cindy Brewer
Credit: Cindy Brewer
By Mark Brock

The No. 1 ranked Tucker Tigers allowed Ware County just three first downs on the way to a 29-0 victory in the Class AAAAA high school state quarterfinals on Friday at Hallford Stadium.

Defense is the key thus far in the state playoffs for Tucker as the Tigers have allowed just 20 points in three games and collected nine tackles for a loss in the game against the Gators from Ware County that had scored 35 points against Northside-Warner Robins in the second round and 49 in the opening round against Bainbridge.

Ware opened the game with a three and out against the Tiger defense and Tucker promptly marched 50 yards to take the lead for good.

A 23-yard run by Yaquis Shelley on second and 12 at the Tiger 48 moved the ball to the Gators’ 29 and with runs of 6 and 18 by quarterback Joseph Farrar the Tigers were set up first and goal at the 5-yard line. Farrar went the final five on third down for the score. Eric Webber tacked on the point after for a 7-0 Tiger lead with 7:45 to play in the first quarter.

Another three and out forced by the Tucker defense and the Tigers had good field position at their own 46. Elijah Sullivan break away for a 23-yard run in the drive and Dominick Sanders added 14 as the Tigers moved to the Ware 4-yard line. Three plays later Farrar got into the end zone for the second time on a two-yard keeper. Webber again tacked on the point after as he moved closer to the DeKalb County single season points by kicking record to make it 14-0 with 2:32 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers found the offensive going a little tougher the rest of the half and a high snap on a 34-yard field goal attempt ended in a miss with 2:50 left in the first half. It was Webber’s first miss of the season.

Ware County would then pick up two of its three first downs in the game on the ensuing drive on pass plays covering 34 and 26 yards, but the Tiger defense stiffened to force a field goal try on fourth and four at the Tiger 9. A mishandled snap forced a run attempt, but Tucker’s Stephen Reynolds stopped it short and the Tigers ran out the final 16 seconds of the half.

Tucker opened the second half driving to the Ware 19 where the drive stalled and Webber came on and kicked a 36-yard field goal to give Tucker a 17-0 lead with 8:13 to play in the third quarter.

The two teams traded punts and Ware was backed up at its own 6-yard line facing a third and 8 when the Tiger defensive pressure forced an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone to collect a safety for a 19-0 lead with 3:58 left in the third quarter.

Tucker drove down to the Ware 25 and Webber trotted out on fourth and 10 for a 42-yard field goal attempt that would give him the new record. His kick was high and through the uprights for the record and a 22-0 Tucker lead with 10:23 to play in the game.

Two possessions later Yaquis Shelley intercepted a pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown with 6:55 to play. Webber tacked on the point after to make the final of 29-0. It was Shelley’s third interception return for a touchdown on the season.

Tucker moves on to play defending Class AAAAA state champion Gainesville (12-1), a 42-28 winner over Mundy’s Mill (8-5), in the semifinals. The game site, Hallford Stadium, was determined by a coin toss on Saturday.

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