It will be a battle of the Tigers when the Bradwell Institute Tigers (3-5-1, 1-4) travel to play the Tucker Tigers (9-1, 7-0) in the first round of the 2016 6-AAAAAA state playoffs on Friday.
Bradwell makes its first playoff appearance since 2013 and must do so against the No. 2 team in the state, according to MaxPreps.
It is going to be a tough match-up for the BI Tigers as they enter Friday’s game averaging just 17.8 points per game while giving up 27.2 points. The Tucker Tigers, on the other hand, have continued to prove why they are one of the best teams in the state by scoring 37.5 points per game and giving up 9.7 points per contest.
Bradwell head coach Greg Hill said making the playoffs for the first time in seven years is a milestone for his program, one that he hopes will set the tone for the future.
"Making the playoffs is big for our program," he said. "This is what we want our kids’ expectations to be going forward."
Bradwell relies heavily on the run game with sophomore Kevin Harris, who just returned from injury, averaging 101 rushing yards in the final four games of the regular season.
Tucker uses a committee of backs with Taurean Taylor and Chris Broadwater going for 913 and 661 yards on the ground, respectively.
"Tucker runs the wing-T offensively, so our kids are familiar with it," Hill said. "The speed and athleticism that they possess will be the best we’ve seen all year. We will have to tackle well and rally to the ball defensively."
Defensively, Bradwell will rely on senior Joshua Ingram as he leads the team with 75 tackles and seven tackles for loss. For Tucker, Gerry Vaughn and Jalen Jefferson have recorded 46 and 42 total tackles on the season, while they have recorded 21 sacks as a unit.
This is the first time the two Tiger squads have met in their storied histories. Tucker went 8-4 in 2015 and advanced to the second round of the 6-AAAAAA state playoffs, but they are no stranger to winning in the postseason.
Tucker played in the Final Four on seven different occasions from 2007-2014, winning state championships in 2008 and 2011.
It will certainly be a tough task for Bradwell, if they are able to head home from North Georgia with an upset victory. They face off against Tucker at Adams Stadium on Friday with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.