Class 5A blog: Clash between rivals Tucker, SWD highlight this week’s schedule

Credit: Mark Brock, DeKalb County Athletic

Credit: Mark Brock, DeKalb County Athletic

The two winningest programs in DeKalb County public school football will clash in a non-region game that highlights this week’s schedule. Class 5A Tucker will travel to play Class 4A Southwest DeKalb on Friday at Godfrey Stadium.

Both teams are in their 74th season of playing football. Tucker is 558-243-15 and Southwest DeKalb is 527-273-14. Each program has won two state championships.

Although both began playing football in 1949, the teams didn’t play for the first time since 1966. Because the schools have rarely been in the same region, they’ve played only 22 times, with Tucker leading 14-7-1. Southwest DeKalb won 34-9 in 2021 to break a five-game losing streak against the Tigers.

Tucker (1-0) opened the season with a 45-14 win over Miller Grove in coach Lonnie Jones’ first game. Running back Jordan McCoy rushed 29 times for 281 yards and four touchdowns and Ethan Sanders ran 11 times for 114 yards and one touchdown. The Tigers were tough on defense, limiting Miller Grove to just 16 yards rushing.

Southwest DeKalb (0-1) dropped a 13-0 decision to Stockbridge in its opener. SWD limited Stockbridge to 230 total yards, 200 of that coming on the ground.

Other interesting games include:

Coffee at Bainbridge: The No. 4-ranked Trojans hammered Tift County 55-7 in the season opener and debut for first-year coach Mike Coe. Coffee ran the ball for 168 yards, getting 80 from Antwain McDuffie and 71 from Fred Brown. Bainbridge, ranked No. 9 in Class 4A, hung tough with Class 3A No. 1 Cedar Grove before losing 30-14. The Bearcats were led by quarterback Bo Smith, who ran 12 times for 50 yards and threw for 108 yards and one touchdown, but threw two interceptions. Coffee leads the series 10-8 and won 35-21 in 2021.

Cambridge at Denmark: No. 9 Cambridge blanked Creekview 28-0 in the season opener. The Bears rushed the ball effectively behind their experienced offensive line, with senior Christian Isibor, going for 139 yards and two touchdowns, and played great defense, limiting Creekview to eight first downs. Denmark was beaten soundly by Class 6A No. 4 Roswell 35-10. This is the first meeting between the two schools.

Clarke Central at Oconee County: This has a chance to be a defensive showcase. No. 8 Clarke Central opened the season with a 40-0 win over Cedar Shoals, while Class 3A No. 8 Oconee County lost a hard-fought 15-13 decision to rival North Oconee despite running for 206 yards. Clarke’s offense was sparked by quarterback Lucian Anderson, who rushed for 99 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 86 yards. The vaunted Clarke defense will be tested by Oconee County back Whit Weeks, an LSU commit. Oconee County leads the series 5-3 and the Warriors have won the last two contests.

Flowery Branch at St. Pius: Flowery Branch showed its running strength last week in a 39-38 win over Decatur. The Falcons ran for 473 yards, including 218 from Myles Ivey and 195 from Malik Dryden. Ivey scored the winning touchdown in the final minute. Flowery Branch will face a better defense this week; St. Pius won its opener 10-7 over Dacula. The two teams have split the only previous meetings, with Flowery Branch winning 21-14 in 2021.

Chapel Hill vs. South Atlanta, Saturday, 10 a.m., Grady Stadium: Chapel Hill won its season opener last week, beating Stone Mountain 17-0, and will have a tougher challenge this week against South Atlanta, the No. 8-ranked team in Class 2A. South Atlanta features is led by Purdue commitment Keyjuan Brown, who rushed for 2,757 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2021.