Once Tucker shook off the offseason cobwebs, Cedar Grove was no match.
The Tigers had a 1-point lead with 4:43 left in the first quarter, but grew that to 38 by halftime, riding big plays from Dominick Sanders to a 51-12 victory.
Class AAAAA No. 2 Tucker didn’t score on its first two possessions, but kick returns for touchdowns from Sanders and then Yaquis Shelley seemed to signal to the Tigers offense that the season had started.
From there, they scored on five consecutive possessions, with only one drive taking more than four plays. It was ruthlessly efficient, racking up more than 200 rushing yards in the first 24 minutes.
“We were kind of rusty coming out,” Tucker coach Bryan Lamar said. “We made some plays off athleticism. Execution wasn’t as sharp as I wanted us to be, but we did some good things. The kids played hard overall.”
A big chunk of the early yards came on the legs of Sanders, who scored Tucker’s first offensive touchdown on a 52-yard run, flanked by teammates and no Saints within 20 yards for much of the way.
Meanwhile, the Tucker defense was stifling, except for one early play that looked as if it cost the Tigers (1-0) a shutout until the Saints added a late touchdown.
On that, Cedar Grove’s Deion Sellers set up at quarterback in the shotgun, fumbled a high snap, grabbed the ball and ran back into his own end zone, then sprinted ahead for an 85-yard touchdown.
It was a spectacular play, but it was the only highlight for a Saints offense that had only one more first-half play of 10 or more yards.
That’s a credit to the speed and pursuit of the Tucker defense, making for a nice complement to what the offense brings.
“We can win games off our defense and kicking game, but we’ve got to get better offensively,” Lamar said. “There’s a lot of talent on defense, but we were just kind of rusty.”
Quarterback Joseph Farrar led the Tigers in rushing with 70 yards on 6 carries. Sellers was the only 100-yard rusher, with a game-high 152 yards and two touchdowns.
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