“They always have talent like that, they always have speed and the kids always play hard at a high level,” DeVoursney said of Franklin Stephens-coached Tucker Tigers which went on to win the state championship that season. “They’re going to go full speed every play.”
The two coaches and teams will match wits again when they meet Friday at Adams Stadium in Atlanta, this time in a second-round Class AAAA state playoff game.
No. 1-state ranked Tucker (11-0) comes into the game sporting an undefeated record, while Griffin (9-2) — which has won emotionally-charged games the past two weeks, first topping Whitewater 23-22 on the road in a play-in game and then rallying from 9 points down to top Jonesboro 47-43 on the road last week in the opening round of state — carries a six-game win streak into the contest.
“We’ll definitely be the slowest team on the field,” DeVoursney said.
Chief and center for Griffin will be slowing down Tucker’s Wing-T offense which is averaging a Class AAAA state leading 47.72 points per game.
“If you take away the first two games (wins of 18-7 against Southwest DeKalb and 15-11 against Marist), they’ve gotten better and better,” DeVoursney noted of a Tucker team that has averaged a stunning 54.67 points per game in its last nine outings, which includes a 44-14 victory against Sprayberry in the opening round of the state playoffs last week.
“They have two running backs, one out of every four times they touch it they score a touchdowns — so that’s pretty impressive right there,” said DeVoursney.
Things won’t get any easier on the other side of the ball for Griffin where Tucker’s 4-3 defense — anchored by a defensive end and outside linebacker who have committed to Vanderbilt — is yielding only 10.27 ppg against.
“They have SEC-caliber kids every year,” DeVoursney noted of the Tigers. “and they have two this year.”
DeVoursney and his staff are proud of the grit and determination their team has shown to make it this far during a rebuilding year, which thus far has culminated in their come-from-behind win last week at Jonesboro.
“Even a lot of our fans left at one point in the game and the next thing you know we came win the ball game,” DeVoursney said. “It was just one of those things where our kids kept playing and fighting and finally in the end came up with a win.”
DeVoursney and his staff clearly know Tucker will be the team’s stiffest test to date.
“They’re No. 1 in the state, have a great football team, a great program and a lot of tradition,” said DeVoursney. “We’re a young team that has barely gotten by each week and we keep fighting and scrapping — no one has told us couldn’t go this far yet so we just keep going along.”
The winner of Friday’s game advances to a state quarterfinal round game the following week against the winner of Thomas County Central (7-4) vs. Flowery Branch (10-1).
Rounds in the State Playoffs
Griffin Year Tucker
2 2011 2
2 2010 4
4 2009 2
4 2008 5
1 2007 4
2 2006 0
4 2005 1
3 2004 3
1 2003 4
3 2002 3
1 2001 1
0 2000 3
— compiled by John Sullivan, Griffin Daily News