One year ago, the Tigers scored 50 points in the first half of a 50-19 victory over Southwest DeKalb. Thursday's game was much more low-scoring, but Tucker's defense was once again dominant, holding the Panthers to a single touchdown to win the season opener for both teams.
After the first quarter ended with Tucker up 3-0, the state's top-ranked AAAA team went to its bag of tricks on a fourth down in Panthers territory. On an end-around, Dominic Sanders fired a perfect 25-yard touchdown pass to Yusuf Minor. The PAT was no good, but the Tigers took a 9-0 lead.
Southwest DeKalb answered right before the half with its only score of the game, a 31-yard touchdown run by Toran Davis. That made it 9-7 Tucker at halftime, but the second half belonged to the Tigers.
Tucker went up 11-7 on a safety, caused when a punt snap deflected off the Panthers punter, who was attempting to call timeout. Instead, he booted the ball out of the end zone for the safety.
The Tigers completed the scoring with a 12-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Juwaan Williams to Vanderbilt commit Josh Dawson with 8:45 remaining.
Next week's Sports Zone Thursday Night Game of the Week matches South Gwinnett and M.L. King. You can catch the action starting at 7:30 p.m. on ME-TV (Comcast channel 248, Charter channel 126) or on wsbtv.com.