A DeKalb County football rivalry renews on Friday night at Hallford Stadium as the Tucker Tigers and Southwest DeKalb Panthers meet for the first time since 2013 to help open the 2020 high school football season at 7:30 pm.
The game is one of 13 games to open the season for the DeKalb County football programs involving 16 teams. A three game schedule of home games open the season on Thursday. No fans will be allowed in at the DeKalb County stadiums at this time.
The non-region game between the rivals marks the 21st meeting in the series with Tucker holding a four-game win streak having won the last meeting 60-14 and a 13-6-1 overall record. Southwest DeKalb’s last win in the series came in a 26-0 victory in 2009. This also the first time since 1985 neither team enters the matchup ranked.
Southwest DeKalb won the first meeting in 1966 13-9 before Tucker reeled off six consecutive wins before a 7-7 tie in 1983. The Panthers rebounded for a 14-10 playoff win in 1983 and would win four of the next five matchups. Southwest DeKalb won 28-6 in 1984 with Tucker bouncing back in 1985 with a 13-10 victory.
The teams would go 20 years without playing from 1985 to 2005. Southwest won the 2005 (17-2) and 2006 (21-20) meetings as the rivalry would run nine years before ending in 2013 with Tucker winning six out of the nine including a four-game streak from 2010 to 2013.
Nine of the 20 meetings in the series were decided by seven points or less including eight of them by four points or less. Fox 5 is set for live shots from the game as its Game of the Week.
No. 7 Milton vs. No. 1 Cedar Grove
The Class 3A two-time defending champions Cedar Grove Saints enter the season ranked No. 1 in Class 3A with an opening trip to Class 7A No. 7 ranked Milton (2-0) on Friday at 7:30 pm in the GPB Game of the Week.
Coach Miguel Patrick enters his second season with a championship ring after the Saints went 13-2 a year ago on the way to the 2019 Class 3A state title with their 21-14 win over Crisp County for their second consecutive state title and third in four seasons.
The Saints return a veteran squad playing their first game of the season against Milton Eagles team entering with a 2-0 record with wins over Johns Creek (29-0) and Hapeville Charter (43-18) to open their season.
Milton and Cedar Grove meet for the third time on the football field with the series tied at 1-1 and the first time since 1977. Cedar Grove won the first meeting in 1976 10-7 with Milton evening the series with a 28-22 victory in 1977. Milton head coach Adam Clack led the Eagles to their first state title with a 13-2 mark in 2018.
Opening Day: Thursday, Oct. 1
Five DeKalb teams kickoff the 2020 season on Thursday with games in DeKalb County as fall is in the air.
The Druid Hills Red Devils (0-0) under the direction of first year coach Mark Meyers take on the Redan Raiders (0-0) and first year head coach Derek Vaughn in a 7:00 pm contest at Avondale Stadium.
It will be the first meeting between the teams since 1989 with Redan holding a 3-1 series lead and a three-game win streak. Druid Hills won the first meeting 10-7 in 1978. Redan took wins in 1979 (26-6), 1988 (35-0), and 1989 (45-3).
Lithonia (0-0) and Stephenson (0-0) renew their DeKalb matchup at 7:00 pm on Thursday at Hallford Stadium for the first time since 2007. Stephenson has dominated the series winning all eight matchups by 21 points or more. Stephenson enters the contest ranked No. 4 in Class 4A.
McNair (0-0) is set to entertain Pace Academy (1-1) at 7:00 pm on Thursday at Godfrey Stadium in a Region 6-2A opener for both teams. Pace has won both the previous matchups in 2016 and 2017.
Friday Night Lights
Four DeKalb County teams entertain non-DeKalb opponents on Friday night while four more travel for their openers.
New Head Coach Greg Barnett debuts his first Columbia Eagles team (0-0) in a Region 6-2A matchup with Therrell (1-2) in an 8:00 pm kickoff at Avondale Stadium. Columbia leads the series with the Atlanta school 4-0 which renews for the first time since 1995.
Stone Mountain (0-0) opens up its season with a class against the North Springs Spartans (0-2) in the 5:15 pm opener at Avondale. The teams are tied at 3-3 in the series dating back to 1964 and play for the first time since North Springs evened the series with a 39-6 win in 2009.
Cross Keys (0-0) looks to break a 30-game losing streak as the Indians host Notre Dame Academy (0-2) at Adams Stadium on Friday at 7:30 pm. The Indians last win came on September 30, 2016 in a 21-16 win over Pataula Charter.
The Arabia Mountain Rams (0-0) plays host to the Decatur Bulldogs (0-0) at 7:30 pm on Friday at Godfrey Stadium. It will be the first meeting between the two teams from DeKalb County.
Chamblee (0-0) travels to Woodland (3-0) of Cartersville on Friday at 7:30 pm in one of the four road games. Dunwoody opens Region 7-7A play with a trip to No. 5 ranked Norcross (3-0) while Lakeside (0-0) goes on the road to Cherokee Bluff (3-0) and Martin Luther King Jr. (0-0) travels to South Atlanta to take on Langston Hughes (2-0). All three games have 7:30 pm kickoffs.
DCSD FOOTBALL SCHEDULE – WEEK 1
Thursday, October 1
Druid Hills (0-0) vs. Redan (0-0), 7:00 pm
Lithonia (0-0) vs. Stephenson (0-0), 7:00 pm
Pace Academy (1-1) vs. McNair (0-0)*, 7:00 pm
Friday, October 2
Notre Dame Academy (0-2) vs. Cross Keys (0-0), 7:30 pm
North Springs (0-2) vs. Stone Mountain (0-0), 5:15 pm
Therrell (1-2) vs. Columbia (0-0)*, 8:00 pm
Decatur (0-0) vs. Arabia Mountain (0-0), 7:30 pm
SW DeKalb (0-0) vs. Tucker (0-0), 7:30 pm
Friday, Oct. 2
Cedar Grove (0-0) at Milton (2-0), 7:30 pm
Chamblee (0-0) at Woodland (3-0), 7:30 pm
Dunwoody (0-0) at Norcross (3-0)*, 7:30 pm
Lakeside (0-0) at Cherokee Bluff (3-0), 7:30 pm
M.L. King (0-0) at Langston Hughes (2-0), 7:30 pm
OPEN: Miller Grove (0-0), Towers (0-0)
Source: DCSD Athletics