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Few bright spots on the gridiron for Clayton Co. teams

By Rory Sharrock

rsharrock@news-daily.com

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

This phrase isn't just the opening line from Charles Dickens' classic novel 'A Tale of Two Cities', but it also applies to life on the gridiron in Clayton County.

For some, the 2007 campaign brought about good tidings of great joy with Mundy's Milll and Lovejoy clinching playoff berths.

However, for others, the regular season couldn't end soon enough as Forest Park and Morrow continued their downward spiral into obscurity.

Mission accomplished: During training camp, every team had its eyes set on making it to postseason play, however, only two schools completed the mission.

Mundy's Mill and Lovejoy managed to survive the pitfalls of the regular season, only to compete in the land mine fields of the playoffs.

Mundy's Mill finished the year at 6-4-1 and 4-2 in league play. The Tigers placed third in 4-AAAAA behind Newnan and East Coweta.

During the first half of the season, Mundy's Mill went 4-1-1, but cooled off over the last month going 2-2.

Last Friday, it fell short against Douglass in the first-round, losing 35-21 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta.

Six Flags over Georgia is located in Cobb County, but the frantic roller coaster ride was at Lovejoy High School.

The Wildcats started out 0-4, yet still managed to make the playoffs, finishing at 5-6 overall and in second place at 4-2 in their region.

Lovejoy beat state-ranked Westside-Macon 41-16 on the final game of the regular season to enter the tournament.

Throughout the year, Lovejoy showed signs of inconsistency and it came back to haunt them in the playoffs.

From the coin flip to halftime, Lovejoy featured an explosive offense.

However, after the band performances, they often went cold, allowing teams to cut into the lead.

In some cases the team completely fell flat, resulting in crushing defeats.

In its first-round playoff match at Whitewater, Lovejoy led 14-0 after one quarter, but they gave up 23-unanswered points and lost 23-21.

Middle of the pack: Upon completion of the football season, fans at Mt. Zion, Riverdale and Jonesboro and North Clayton have become the walking cliché of the glass is half full.

Both Mt. Zion and Riverdale showcased new head coaches in Jarrett Laws and Jamie Reed. Jonesboro lined up under the leadership of Clint Satterfield, who completed his second year on the sidelines at his alma mater.

North Clayton's sky-high first half of the season, in which it went 3-1, was clipped by a second half swoon that saw it go 2-4 and miss out on the playoffs. The Eagles saw their postseason dreams slip through their claws after losing Nov. 1 to Lovejoy 24-13 at Twelve Oaks Stadium. As a result, they finished 4-2 in the region, losing the tie-breaker to the Wildcats.

They closed out the year with a 45-6 blowout loss at Baldwin.

With the exception of its games versus Northside-Warner Robins and Baldwin, North Clayton was competitive in every contest. The Eagles' defense proved to be the difference-maker as they knotted three doughnuts, including back-to-back shutouts over Morrow and Forest Park to kick off the season.

Laws took over the Bulldogs' program after serving as offensive coordinator the previous year.

While Mt. Zion's point production increased from 17.2 to 18.1 points per game in 2007, its win total decreased from 5-5 to 3-7.

Riverdale played to the level of its competition by losing to the elite teams and beating up on the low-level squads such as Morrow, Forest Park and Dutchtown.

The Raiders ended at 5-5 and 2-4 in 4A-AAAA.

Jonesboro made a quarterback change in the summer with Clif Crews lining up under center.

However, the team is still a work in progress as it improved its win total from 2-8 to 3-7.

Cellar dwellers: The dates and the years on the calendar have changed, the results on the field unfortunately have remained the same.

The cloud of losing continues to rain down on Forest Park and Morrow High. Both schools combined to go 2-17-1 in 2007.

Forest Park recorded its first win since Sept. 6, 2005 when it beat Jones County on the last game of season.

Points were at a premium for the Panthers' offense as they were held to single-digits in 7-of-10 games this season.

Morrow head coach Daryl Steward failed to improve upon the team's poor play as it finished at 1-9.

The Mustangs went 3-7 the previous year.

Just like Forest Park, Morrow's offense was ineffective as it reached double-digits in only three games.

Morrow's average margin of defeat was 23.2 points per game.