The No. 1 ranked Tigers advanced to the Class AAAAA Final Four with a 29-0 victory over the Gators at Hallford Stadium on Friday.
Joseph Farrar rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns and Yaquis Shelley returned an interception for a touchdown for Tucker, which will host Gainesville on Friday at Hallford Stadium after winning the coin flip to determine home-field advantage.
“We’re just blessed to be in the Final Four,” Tucker coach Bryan Lamar said. “We got another challenge in front of us with Gainesville. We just got to stay focused.”
Similar to the quarterfinals matchup three years ago, the Tigers (13-0) were the better team by far, holding Ware County (11-2) to just three first downs (all in the first half) and just 92 yards of total offense.
“We pride ourselves on defense and special teams then being physical offensively,” Lamar said. “Ware County has one of the top defenses in the state so whenever we get the opportunity to go defense against defense we like to see if we can win that matchup and kids stayed focused.”
After forcing the Gators into their first of nine punts, the Tigers got into the end zone nearly halfway through the first quarter when Farrar ran for a five-yard score. Following Ware County’s next punt, Tucker doubled its margin when Farrar slipped into the end zone from two yards out with 2:32 left in the frame.
“Joe has been doing that all year for us,” Lamar said. “He is a very good player. He’s intelligent and gets us in the right tempo that we need.”
There would be no more scoring the rest of the half but Dominick Sanders would make a highlight worthy one-handed catch for a first down.
In the second half, Eric Webber made a pair of field goals to help extend the lead and Jammar Johnson committed an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone to give the Tigers two more points.
Then midway through the fourth quarter, Shelley made Johnson’s night a little less memorable when he picked off a long pass in the middle of the field and returned it 65 yards for the game’s final TD.
Elijah Sullivan rushed for 77 yards for the Tigers, who also handed Ware County its first scoreless outing since 2011.
Ware County sophomore running backs Jaquez Bolds and Dedrick Mills were held to 17 and 10 yards rushing, respectively.
“Mills and Bolds are both phenomenal players,” Lamar said. “Mills is one of the top sophomores in the state. We knew we were going to have to stop them from running the football. We tried to make them one dimensional.”