By Doug Gorman
The Mt. Zion Bulldogs sent a message to the rest of Region 2-AAAAA last Thursday night in their victory against Warner Robins.
Simply put, the Bulldogs aren't just a running team anymore. They can also pass the football.
Mt. Zion has gradually started opening up its offense throughout the season, but definitely unleashed its air attack against the Demons.
Quarterback Emory Clark led the Bulldogs to a 27-16 victory against Warner Robins by completing 11 of 15 passes.
For the season, Clark has completed 33 of 55 passes, putting him second in pass efficiency for the entire region.
Passing the football is something head coach Jackie Green's clubs haven't done a whole lot in the past, electing to run the ball out of the Winged-T formation in an effort to control the flow of the game.
It's worked to perfection as Green's teams have consistently won during his 11 seasons at the helm of the Bulldogs, including the 1999 season when he led Mt. Zion to the state championship game.
"They (Warner Robins) were stopping our run, so when we went to the pass, we started moving the football."
Mt. Zion's balanced playbook has the Bulldogs sitting atop of the Region 2-AAAAA standings with a 5-1 overall record, but a 5-0 mark in league competition.
Friday night at Tara Stadium the Bulldogs face their toughest challenge so far this season when Northside Warner Robins makes an appearance at Tara Stadium.
Northside is also unbeaten with a 5-0 overall mark and a 4-0 record in the Region 2-AAAAA standings.
Mt. Zion might just needed another balanced attack in order to pull of the victory.
"They lead our region in just about every defense category," said Green.
Through the first five games of the season, the Eagles have yielded just 31 points. That might explain why opponents are averaging just 43.8 yards per game rushing.
Northside is just as explosive on the offensive side of the ball generating 386 yards per game. Most of it comes from its potent rushing attack, which is a picking up 300 yards per contest behind the one-two punch of Rodrick Hayward and Ferlando Williams.
Offensively for Mt. Zion, Josh Chapman is the region's third lead rusher with 584 yards and seven TDS.
Maurice Leggett leads Mt. Zion with seven receptions.
Defensively, Valin Leggett leads the region with four interceptions.