Currently, the Jaguars and Lions are tied for second place in Region 6-AAAAA with a 5-1 record apiece. If Stephenson ends its three-game losing streak against M.L. King, it could make the early part of the postseason not be as stressful.
“They’ve been a thorn in our side for the past three years,” Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell said. “We’re looking at it as a big ball game. A game that could determine who will have home-field advantage early in the playoffs.”
Last year after the 2010 and 2011 contests were decided by a total of just three points, the Lions cruised to a 49-28 victory over the Jaguars.
“They have speed at every skilled position and we know that can give us some problems,”
Gartrell said. “It’s going to be a difficult game for us and hopefully for them too. This game has always been a classic.”
M.L. King enters the eighth meeting between these teams as the hotter ball club, following a 33-14 win over Lakeside last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Stephenson bounced back from a thrilling loss to Tucker with a 31-7 triumph over Miller Grove last week. Dallas Rivers had two rushing touchdowns and Dexter Neal caught a pair of TD passes.
“Our guys are very resilient and they understand you have to play one game at a time,” Gartrell said. “We had a bump in the road there against tucker but the kids did a good job of putting that behind them.”
Stephenson’s sixth win of the season was also the 150th at the school for Gartrell.
“We try to do all the right things and the hard work has paid off,” Gartrell said. “We’re definitely excited about it--150 wins in 18 years is a pretty good accomplishment.”
The Tucker Tigers, also one of the Jaguars’ biggest rivals, remained perfect last week with a 60-14 rout of Southwest DeKalb. Joseph Farrar had two touchdown passes and also ran for a score.