By Anthony Rhoads

Mt. Zion head coach Jackie Green was nearly speechless after Thursday's game against Lovejoy but he didn't have to say much n the scoreboard said it all.

The Mt. Zion Bulldogs upset the Lovejoy Wildcats 20-15 at Tara Stadium to start the 2004 season. Lovejoy entered the game as the ninth-ranked team in Class AAAAA in the Associated Press pre-season high school football poll

"I'm just proud of our guys," Green said. "I'm kind of speechless."

Rashad Cunningham led the way for Mt. Zion as he rushed for about 50 yards and scored three touchdowns.

"Cunningham ran the ball hard," Green said.

Things went Lovejoy's way for much of the first half and the Wildcats led 9-0 in the second quarter.

But Mt. Zion orchestrated an 11-play, five-minute drive that culminated in a 10-yard touchdown run by Cunningham with 51 seconds remaining in the half.

With 5:06 remaining in the third quarter, Mt. Zion took a 13-9 lead when Cunningham scored on a 26-yard run.

The Bulldogs extended their led to 20-9 at about midway through the fourth quarter when Cunningham scored his third touchdown of the night. The score came on a drive that lasted nearly five-and-a-half minutes on 11 plays.

Lovejoy's offense sputtered for much of the game but late in the fourth quarter, the Wildcat offense finally came alive.

After Mt. Zion's final touchdown, Lovejoy marched 68 yards on five plays and the drive ended when Octavius Edge scored on a 9-yard run.

Notes: Mt. Zion's Devin Montgomery intercepted two passes?Lovejoy punter David McHone had a solid night with punts of 57, 56 and 39 yards?Mt. Zion leads the series 7-6.