With the first step out of the way, Marist can afford to relax before the second part of its Region 6-AAAA championship quest.
The War Eagles (4-1, 4-0 in 6-AAAA) beat rival Tucker 32-7 on Friday to remain unbeaten in the region along with Southwest DeKalb. Marist and the Panthers meet Oct. 23, a week after the Panthers take on Tucker.
Marist has the week off before resuming its region schedule Oct. 9 at Forsyth Central. A home game against Miller Grove follows, before the showdown with Southwest.
“The off week is perfect timing for us,” Marist coach Alan Chadwick said after Friday’s win. “It will give us a chance to work on some things and get everybody rested.”
As it has done most of the season, the Marist defense took control of the game. The War Eagles shut down Tucker’s explosive offense and forced the Tigers to try to get something going through the air. Tucker (4-1, 3-1), which averages about 350 yards rushing, had more yards passing than on the ground for the second week in a row.
“Our first focus every week is to try to stop the run,” Chadwick said. “We were able to take away their big plays.”
The seven points scored by Tucker broke a streak of two straight shutouts by the War Eagles.
Instead, it was Marist that benefitted from big plays. While Tucker scored four touchdowns on defense and special teams two weeks ago in a win over Miller Grove, the Tigers did mostly chasing against Marist.
The War Eagles piled up 350 yards rushing, with Sam McNearny accounting for about 150 yards and two long touchdowns (48 and 81 yards). Matt Connors added a 38-yard touchdown run and quarterback Andy Perez ran for more than 100 yards.
“Our defense was exploited once again,” Tucker coach Franklin Stephens said. “We gave up big plays and it’s gotten to be a common occurrence. We’ve got to be able to fix some things.”