By Rory Sharrock
The more things change, the more they remain the same.
When the Mundy's Mill Tigers take the field tonight at Newnan High School, the same passion and intensity that flows throughout the locker room will be at its usual high-octane pace. However, there will be a new signal caller under center as junior Brian East makes his debut as the team's starting quarterback.
East takes control of the wheel, replacing Miguel Starks who is serving a one-game suspension after being ejected in last week's 29-17 loss versus East Coweta.
Although he is making his first start, he isn't new to the system. East has taken several snaps in practice throughout the season and he's very familiar with the Tigers' offensive strategy.
"The team and the coaches are showing a lot of confidence in me and they believe I can do it," East said. "I'm taking it in stride, but I'm still nervous. Once I get that first play out the way, I'll be OK."
Tonight's game also symbolizes a changing of the guard with East being named the starter for the rest of the season. Starks will rotate in for special packages once his suspension is complete.
"Brian's (East) been with us for a couple of years and he knows the system," said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Camiel Grant.
"Some things will slow down a little bit, but for the most part it's the same offense. He does a good job with his foot work so that helps out with his passes and he gets the ball out on time."
East will celebrate his coming out party against perhaps the most fearsome foe in Region 4-AAAAA. Newnan has won five-straight games, including three shutouts during this span.
The Cougars' stingy defense has been as strong as an iron wall in 2007. Newnan is giving up a microscopic 8.7 points per game and currently stands one game out of first place behind East Coweta in the region.
With the exception of their opening game win versus Whitewater and their lone loss to Carrollton on Sept. 7, the Cougars have blown out every team this season by an average margin of 39 points.
"They have a real good football team. They're very athletic and they have good size. They have a lot of tradition down there and they win every year," said Mundy's Mill head coach Kenneth Barrow. "We've been working real hard to get ready for them. We just have to execute, eliminate mistakes and play a perfect ball game."
Mundy's Mill must rely on a ball control game plan with a bend, but don't break mentality on defense in tonight's pivotal road match. East will be called up to manage the game to move the chains, eat up time off the clock and keep the ball away from Newnan's explosive offense.
The Tigers currently sit in third place in the region and hold a good position to advance the playoffs.
However, a win tonight will give them added insurance and a tremendous boost of confidence to help them out in the long run.
After this week, Mundy's Mill closes out the regular season with two winnable game versus Paulding County and Morrow.