Region Titles Are on the Line Friday Night in DeKalb

Stephenson's Ryan Ingram (left) and Tucker's Isaiah Dunson (right) lead their teams into a Region 4-6A title game on Friday night at Hallford Stadium. (Photos by Mark Brock)

Stephenson’s Ryan Ingram (left) and Tucker’s Isaiah Dunson (right) lead their teams into a Region 4-6A title game on Friday night at Hallford Stadium. (Photos by Mark Brock)

Hallford and Godfrey Stadiums play hosts to a pair of region championship games on Friday night as playoff seeding is on the line for several DeKalb football teams this weekend.

Hallford Stadium is playing host to the Region 4-6A title game for the third consecutive year as the Tucker Tigers (6-3, 6-1) play host to the No. 10 ranked Stephenson Jaguars (8-1, 6-1) at 8:00 pm as part of a doubleheader to end the regular season.

The only blemish on Stephenson’s record was a region opening 14-9 upset loss to Mt. Zion-Jonesboro. The Jaguars put together a six-game win streak since that point allowing just 27 points (4.5 ppg) in that span to climb back to the top of the region standings alongside Tucker.

Stephenson has rushed for 2,144 yards and 33 touchdowns on the season led by Texas A&M commit Deondre Jackson (133 carries, 716 yds, 13 TDs) and fellow senior Ryan Ingram (116 carries, 663 yds, 9 TDs). Junior quarterback Joseph Jackson has thrown for 623 yards and six TDs with Trevon Ferrell causing the most damage with nine receptions for 179 yards and three TDs.

A tough early schedule against ranked Class 7A opponents Archer and Grayson account for two of the Tigers losses with the other loss coming at the hands of Region 4-6A foe Morrow (5-4, 5-2) three weeks ago in a game the Tigers led 14-0 early before falling 19-14.

Tucker is coming off a 34-6 win over Mt. Zion in a game the defense held the Bulldogs scoreless for most of three quarters. Junior defensive end Dawson Rivers (50 tackles, 5 sacks, 8 for a loss) leads the defense which held Mt. Zion to well under a hundred yards rushing on the night. Junior linebacker Randy Britt has seven sacks on the season and senior linebacker Aaron Key has seven tackles for a loss.

The Jaguar defense allowed 14 points against Lovejoy, the most since their loss to Mt. Zion, but has been stingy with a Class 6A leading 7.0 points allowed per game this season. Junior defensive lineman Tommy Smith has 81 tackles while senior lineman Malichi Bailey (12 tackles for loss, 5 sacks) and senior linebacker Janirr Wade (11 tackles for a loss) are disruptive forces for the Jaguars.

Tucker’s offense is a bit more balanced rushing for 1,676 yards and 17 touchdowns while passing for 1,059 and 11 touchdowns. Quarius Smith leads the ground attack with 742 yards and 10 touchdowns while Myles Crawley has 1,054 yards passing and 11 touchdowns. Isaiah Dunson is the big threat in the passing game with 30 catches for 568 yards and eight touchdowns.

Tucker leads the series with Stephenson 3-2 as they head into their sixth consecutive meeting. The two teams have a combined 27 region titles overall (Tucker 18, Stephenson 9) and have combined for 20 since 2001 (Tucker 11, Stephenson 9).

The winner of the game is the Region 4-6A champ while the matchup of Martin Luther King Jr. (7-2, 5-2) and Morrow (5-4, 5-2) also plays a role in how the two through four seeds shake out.

The Lions secured a playoff berth for the first time since the 2013 season with their win last week and could earn a No. 3 seed with a win over Morrow at Tara Stadium on Friday night at 7:30 pm. Morrow could secure a No. 2 seed with a win and a Tucker loss.

Southwest DeKalb's Rion White and his Panthers teammates try to defend their Region 5-5A title against the Columbia Eagles on Friday night at Godfrey Stadium. (Photo by Arielle Hayes)

Southwest DeKalb’s Rion White and his Panthers teammates try to defend their Region 5-5A title against the Columbia Eagles on Friday night at Godfrey Stadium. (Photo by Arielle Hayes)

Region 5-5A
Godfrey Stadium hosts the Region 5-5A title game as the Southwest DeKalb Panthers (8-1, 4-0) as they try to defend their title by taking on the Columbia Eagles (4-5, 4-0) in a 7:30 pm kickoff.

The Panthers have 17 region titles to their credit as they go for No. 18 while the Eagles have just two and have not won one since the 1981 season. Southwest has won seven consecutive meetings with the Eagles and own a 26-8 record overall in 34 meetings.

Southwest DeKalb has followed up its 10-0 regular season of a year ago with an 8-1 mark this season on the back of a balance offense that has rushed for 1,333 yards and 25 touchdowns and passed for 1,672 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Mekhi Gilstrap (66 carries, 480 yds, 9 TDs) and Khoreem Miller (60 carries, 379 yds, 44 TDs) lead the rushing attack for the Panthers. Junior Rion White directs the offense and has thrown for 1,400 yards (165-87-7) and 14 touchdowns while rushing for seven more scores.

The trio of Aquil Muhammad (37 catches, 611 yds, 6 TDs), Tommy Wright (23 catches, 400 yds, 4 TDs) and Robert Grady (22 catches, 325 yds, 4 TDs) give White plenty of targets.

Columbia’s defense will counter with a pair of senior defensive linemen in Nazir Stackhouse (52 tackles, 22 for loss, 6.5 sacks) and Makale Cummings (73 tackles, 16 for loss, 1.5 sacks) and senior linebacker Antony Dennis who has 38 tackles, 7 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries.

The Eagles offense is led by senior quarterback Octavious Griffin (51 carries, 414 yards, 5 TDs; 210-114-4, 2,036 yards passing, 21 TDs). Junior running back Deyonte Mitchell is second on the team in rushing with 406 yards and three touchdowns.

Griffin has a trio of receivers to look to as well in seniors William Hemsley (28 catches, 599 yds, 10 TDs), Kentavious Ivey (21 catches, 532 yds, 5 TDs) and Anthony Dennis (28 catches, 513 yds, 4 TDs).

Southwest DeKalb’s defense has allowed just 11.7 points per game this season led by their senior defensive ends Keun Neal (68 tackles, 7 for loss, 5 sacks) and John Grant (68 tackles, 15 for loss, 14 sacks). Senior linebacker Tridavion Slaughter joins the duo with 41 tackles, 10 for a loss and 8 sacks.

Both teams will get a home game in the first round of the playoffs against the tough Region 6-5A that has three ranked teams.

The Arabia Mountain Rams (2-7, 2-2) and Lithonia Bulldogs (3-6, 2-2) tangle at Avondale Stadium on Friday at 7:30 pm with the winner earning the No. 3 seed and the loser heading into the playoffs as a No. 4 seed.

Friday, Nov. 8 – Week 12
Brookwood (4-5) vs. Lakeside (0-9), 7:30 pm

Lithonia (3-6) vs. Arabia Mountain (2-7), 7:30 pm (SN)

Columbia (4-5) vs. SW DeKalb (8-1), 7:30 pm

Douglass (8-1) vs. Clarkston (0-9), 5:15 pm (SN)
Stephenson (8-1) vs. Tucker (6-3), 8:00 pm (SN)

Pataula Charter (2-7) vs. Cross Keys (0-9), 5:15 pm (SN)
Miller Grove (0-9) vs. Chamblee (0-8), 7:30 pm (HC)

Dunwoody (3-6) at Johns Creek (8-1), 7:30 pm
M.L. King (7-2) vs. Morrow (5-4), Tara Stadium, 7:30 pm
McNair (0-9) vs. Therrell (2-7), Grady, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Nov. 9
McDonough (3-6) vs. Druid Hills (2-7), 7:30 pm

Towers (2-7) vs. Redan (3-6), 7:30 pm

Cedar Grove (7-2) vs. Stone Mountain (3-6), 7:30 pm

Source: DCSD Athletics

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