The Martin Luther King Jr. Lions and the Tucker Tigers both picked up big first round victories in the Class AAAAA high school football state playoffs on Friday night while the Stephenson Jaguars won on Saturday.
The No. 2 ranked Lions improved to 11-0 for the second consecutive season as junior quarterback Roland Rivers threw for 338 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-14 win over the Sequoyah Chiefs at Hallford Stadium to earn another home date in the second round next week.
Rivers connected on touchdown pass plays of 36 and 59 yards with Donald Clark in the first half and rushed for another on a quarterback sneak as the Lions built a 21-7 halftime lead on the Chiefs.
Sequoyah's lone first half score came after a bad snap on punt gave the Chiefs the football on the Lions' eight-yard line. Aided by a personal foul on a field goal attempt that gave the Chiefs a first and goal at the two Blake Ingleton scored on a one-yard run to cut what was a 14-0 lead to 14-7 with 5:35 to play in the half.
Rivers score came just over two minutes later as he went in from one-yard out for the score for the 21-7 halftime lead. A 35-yard pass to Marquis Polite-Bray and an 18-yard run by Renard Whyte helped set up the touchdown.
The Lions blocked a 36-yard field goal attempt by Sequoyah just before the half ended.
Rivers found another target in the second half connecting with Polite-Bray on touchdown passes of 59 and 72 yards as the lead went to 34-7 lead.
The Lions move on to host No. 10 ranked Allatoona (10-1) on Friday at Hallford Stadium in the second round of the playoffs. Allatoona knocked off Heritage-Conyers 24-21 in the first round.
Tucker 42, Creekview 25
The No. 5 ranked Tucker Tigers fell behind 3-0 early before rolling to a 42-25 road win over Creekview on Friday night.
The Tigers (9-2) responded to the 3-0 deficit quickly scoring to take a 7-3 before exploding for three second quarter touchdowns to take a 28-3 lead into the half.
The lead would expand to 35-3 in the third quarter before Creekview (9-2) could close the gap to 35-17 early in the fourth quarter. Both teams would score one more time each for the final of 42-25.
Tucker advances to host North Paulding (8-3) on Friday at Adams Stadium. North Paulding advanced with a 63-43 upset of Flowery Branch in the first round.
Stephenson 31, Pope 11
Evan Jones ran for 97 of his 114 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second half to lead the No. 9 Stephenson Jaguars to a 31-11 Class AAAAA state playoff victory at Hallford Stadium on Saturday night.
The Jaguars (8-2) had a 7-3 lead at the half behind a seven yard touchdown run by Jahmal Daniels.
Jones took over in the second half on Stephenson's second possession as he carried five times for 66 yards in the drive including the final six for the touchdown and a 14-3 lead after Wisdom Nziddee's point after kick with 6:31 left in the third quarter.
Pope (7-4) got a six-yard touchdown run from Ronald Woods on its next possession. A two-point pass from Stephen Skrunck to Logan Carr closed the gap to 14-11 with 2:57 to play in the third period.
The Jaguars answered with a 33 yard field goal by Nzidde that was set up by a 45 yard pass from Justin Holman to Bernard Barnes. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff was recovered by Stephenson's Ronald Peterkin at the Pope 21. One play later Jones went the 21 yards for the touchdown and a
24-11 lead with 9:28 to play giving the Jaguars 10 points in a 21 second span.
Khalil Ladler closed out the scoring as he intercepted a Pope pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown to make the final margin 31-11.
The Jaguars advance and travel to take on No. 3 ranked East Paulding (11-0) on Friday night.
Kell 19, SW DeKalb 14
The Southwest DeKalb Panthers pushed No. 4 ranked Kell to the brink before losing in the final 25 seconds by a score of 19-14 at Kell on Friday night.
The Panthers (7-4) led early 7-0 before Kell (10-1) tied the game at 7-7 at the half.
Kell then held a 13-7 lead in the second half when the Panthers scored with 7:58 to play to take a 14-13 lead. The Panthers were clinging to the lead as the clock ticked below one minute to play when Kell struck on a 48-yard pass play to pull out the victory.
Buford 41, Cedar Grove 27
The Cedar Grove Saints battled the No. 3 ranked Buford Wolves, but could not catch up in a 41-27 loss at Buford in the Class AAA state playoffs.
Cedar Grove (6-5) got two rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return for touchdown by Deion Sellers and trailed just 20-13 early in the third quarter.
Buford (8-3) was able to keep its cushion in advancing to the second round.
DeKalb Co. Playoff Results
Friday, Nov. 16
Buford (8-3) 41, Cedar Grove (6-5) 27
Kell (10-1) 19, SW DeKalb (7-4) 14
Tucker (9-2) 42, Creekview (9-2) 25
M.L. King (11-0) 34, Sequoyah (7-4) 14
Saturday, Nov. 17
Stephenson (8-2) 31, Pope (7-4) 11