The Champion’s game of the week: M.L. King vs Tucker

A matchup that is usually one-sided will have huge region-standing implications when played Oct. 25.
The region 4-AAAAAA showdown between the M.L. King Lions (4-1, 6-1) and Tucker Tigers (4-1, 4-3) will kick off at Hallford Stadium at 8 p.m. This will be the eighth meeting of the two teams, dating back to their first meeting 2012, which MLK won 24-17.

Since then, Tucker has won the next six matchups, outscoring MLK 284-60. Three of those games have been shutouts, but last season, Tucker beat MLK by only 10 points (30-20). This year’s game could be close as the Tigers are facing an improved Lions’ team.

The Tigers are averaging 343.8 yards per game on offense and MLK is averaging 314.0 yards. While both offenses run the ball well—MLK (223.2), Tucker (203.8)—Tucker has a slight edge over MLK in the passing game (140.0 to 90.8 yards per game).

Tucker quarterback Myles Crawley has a 61 percent completion rate and has thrown for 835 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception this season. Wide receiver Isaiah Dunson has been Crawley’s number one target, catching 25 passes for 435 yards and seven touchdowns. Running back Quarius Smith has also scored seven touchdowns this season.

Because he suffered an injury against Stephenson on Oct. 4, quarterback Jacobi Haynes’ status for this game will be a game-time decision, according to coach Deante Lamar. If he can play, the Lions’ offense will get its best playmaker back. If he is ruled out for the game, expect senior running back Michael Fern Jr. to run the ball a lot in this game.

This game will more than likely be decided by whichever defense gets the most stops. If Tucker can contain MLK’s rushing attack, they could win. If MLK’s defensive put enough pressure on Crawley and force turnover, the Lions could finally end their losing streak against Tucker.

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