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Tucker Lions | 9U Division

The Tucker Lions captured their first B2C Championship under Coach Brandon Henry this past Saturday over the No. 1 ranked Georgia Seminoles 8-0. After dropping the YFA title to the Seminoles in November, the Lions made the most of their second chance with a strong performance on the ground. “Playing them earlier this year we got caught up in the Seminoles name and their size along the sidelines, I don’t think we did a good job of mentally preparing our kids for that game.” Coach Henry explained. “On Saturday they went out there and played football. “It feels amazing for our kids. A lot of people don’t talk about our kids being the best in the city, so it’s a huge reward for all of their hard work.” said Coach Henry. “This is a really special group on and off the field.”

Traditionally a power running program, Tucker 9U opened up their offense and transitioned into the spread formation to get the talented duo of QB Jace German and RB Christian Copeland in space. Over the course of the season, the Lions were able to use their speed and vision out of the backfield to make people miss one on one. Tucker led the YFA in scoring this season as one of the best offenses in the state of Georgia. Copeland is one of the most electric running backs in the country at the 9U level. His speed, strength, and field vision left defensive coordinators in shambles. German may be the fastest player in the YFA, his transition to quarterback this season helped the Lions offense reach another level in 2018. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a quarterback draw on 3rd and long from around 15+ yards out. “When we were able to get their linebackers and cornerbacks to retreat, it gave our kids a chance to run free in space.” added Coach Henry.

Leading the way for Tucker’s success on the ground was B2C Player of the Game Jajaun Graham (OL/DL). In addition to blocking well in space, Graham was disruptive on defense creating negative plays and forcing turnovers. “Jajuan was really good last year, he’s always been one of the most talented big men, but he raised his football IQ this season,” added Coach Henry. “Now if its 3rd and short he knows they’ll go on two. He’s our anchor upfront on both the offensive and defensive line. He sets the tone for what we do.”

“Everything we’ve been preaching all season put us in a position to succeed. We trust in what we do. We work on fundamentals and technique throughout the entire season”, explained Coach Henry. “It feels good to win B2C and be the best team in the state, but now we have a target on our back and have to work even harder moving forward.”

~Cody Butler

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