Tucker’s run-first offense to meet Valdosta’s balanced attack
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Tucker is 13-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 4-AAAAAA and No. 4; Valdosta is 13-1, the No. 1 seed from 1-AAAAAA and No. 1.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Things to know: Valdosta’s 23 state titles are the most by any team in state history, but Tucker has won two championships (2008, 2011) and had a runner-up finish (2013) since the Wildcats’ last appearance in a state final in 2003. Valdosta is seeking its first state title since 1998, the longest drought in program history. Tucker runs for 247.7 yards per game and features two 1,000-yard rushers, Taurean Taylor (122 carries, 1,315 yards, 16 TDs) and Chris Broadwater (175-1,088-21). QB Xavier Shephard has thrown 17 TD passes and has 1,768 yards, most of which have gone to Josh Vann (57 receptions, 1,203 yards, 13 TDs). Valdosta is a bit more balanced, averaging 172.9 yards passing and 155.6 rushing. QBs Josh Belton (1,190 yards passing, 377 rushing) and Hunter Holt (1,087 passing, 653 rushing) have accounted for 3,289 yards and 38 TDs. Tevin Gray has run for 587 yards and six TDs, and J.R. Ingram has 55 catches for 970 yards and 16 TDs.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Valdosta by 2
|35.2||Points per game||34.6|
|247.7||Avg. yards rushing||155.6|
|136.3||Avg. yards passing||172.9|
|384.0||Avg. total yards||328.5|
|Gerry Vaughn||52 solo tackles, 23 assists, 6 tackles for losses|
|Aaron Sterling||73 total tackles, 14.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for losses|
|Adam Lippy||58-for-62 extra points, 6-for-7 field goals (long of 42)|
|Jayce Rogers||33.1 yards on KO returns, 13.0 on 27 punt returns|
|James Bushware||38.2 average on 56 punts|
|Team Defense||Allows 128.8 yards rushing, 128.2 yards passing|