By Doug Gorman
It's a little too early in the series to call Saturday night's game between the Mt. Zion Bulldogs and the Mundy's Mill Tigers a rivalry, but any future meetings between the two teams will have a hard time matching the 2004 edition for excitement.
On a night when its defense bent but did not break late in the game, the Mt. Zion Bulldogs improved their record to 2-0 with a 20-13 victory against the Tigers.
Mundy's Mill, which opened the season with a tie against Jonesboro last week, fell to 0-1-1.
The Tigers are playing their first full region and varsity schedule . The squad spent the first two season playing a non-region schedule.
The Bulldogs led 12-6 at the break, sticking to their game plan of keeping the ball primarily on the ground.
Six different players carried the football for the Bulldogs with Aubrey Dorsey picking up 148 yards to lead Mt. Zion's ground attack.
Mt. Zion started the scoring on its first series of the game when Rashad Cunningham scored on a 3-yard run. The extra point failed for a 6-0 lead.
Mundy's Mill called on its defense for its first points of the contest as Kerry Leonard intercepted a pass and returned it 42 yards for the score to tie the game at 6 with 2:27 remaining in the first quarter.
A turnover also helped Mt. Zion set up its go-head TD right before the break as Jamaal Clark intercepted a pass to give the Bulldogs possession of the football at the Mundy's Mill 40.
Three plays later, and with just 35 seconds remaining, quarterback Darryl Tolbert hit Valin Leggett with a 27-yard TD pass.
Mt. Zion used a 51-yard scoring drive on its first series of the second half to go up 20-6. Dorsey's 1-yard run put the Bulldogs up by two TDS.
Then the Tigers answered the fourth-quarter wake up call.
In the first half, Mundy's Mill picked up just one first down. On the scoring drive, the Tigers moved the first down sticks four times, capping the drive when quarterback Dwayne Sullivan connected with Derek Lewis on a 25-yard TD pass.
Sullivan helped set up the score a few plays earlier when he picked up a Mt. Zion blitz and scampered 34-yards into Mt. Zion territory.
The Tigers' scoring drive was set up by its defense as Eric Lewis stopped the Bulldogs 10-play drive with an interception.
After the Sullivan to Lewis scoring strike, the Tigers' defense stopped Mt. Zion. After the punt, Mundy's Mill took over its own 31 yard and picked up on first down when running Erroll Wynn rushed for 15 yards.
The drive stalled and after a fake punt failed to generate a first down, Mt. Zion took over possession of the football.
Each team had the ball one more time, before t time expired.