By Phil Albert
Special to the Daily
Junior running back Rayshad Samuels rushed for 189 yards and one touchdown and junior quarterback Vic Hardison added another touchdown run as Lovejoy improved to 2-3 on the football season with a 16-6 Homecoming victory over visiting Mundy's Mill Friday night at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
A huge crowd of support helped Lovejoy win its first region game of the season, while Mundy's Mill continues to struggle and remains unbeaten through five games this season.
Lovejoy dominated in the first half behind the running of Samuels and sophomore Rico McWilliams.
Samuels rushed for 129 yards on 15 carries in the first half alone and McWilliams added another 27 yards as the Wildcats accumulated 218 yards in the half, 152 on the ground.
Samuels' 47-yard dash up the middle gave the Wildcats a 6-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter and A.J. Jackson scored the first of his two 2-point conversions as the Wildcats led 8-0.
Wildcat junior defensive back Nic Smith stopped two consecutive Mundy's Mill drives with interceptions, the second one coming at the Tiger 27-yard line.
Seven plays later, the Wildcats hit paydirt again, with Hardison scoring on a one-yard run with 1:26 remaining in the first half. Jackson's two-point conversion gave the Wildcats a convincing 16-0 halftime lead.
The Wildcats missed on two other scoring drive opportunities in the opening half.
A 13-play opening drive of the game stalled at the Mundy's Mill 34-yard line. The long drive used up nearly eight minutes of the clock.
The Wildcats gained 106 yards in the first quarter and had five first downs. Yet, no points were scored.
In the second quarter, the Wildcats used a 33-yard pass play from Hardison to D.J. Smith to move to the Tiger 25-yard line. Eventually, the Wildcats had the ball at the Tiger 10, but Hardison fumbled the ball away after being tackled from behind.
Senior defensive back Arthur Williams' pass interception gave Mundy's Mill possession at its own 37 midway into the third quarter, eventually setting up the team's only touchdown.
Twelve plays later, junior Kahlil Thurman scored on an eight-yard run with 3:11 remaining in the quarter.
Lovejoy had Mundy's Mill stopped earlier in the drive on downs, but on fourth down and a bad snap from center, Tiger junior punter George Mulambo rushed for 16 yards and the all-important first down. Thurman's 15-yard run and a 10-yard pass from senior Jeff LeClerc to senior tight end Marcus Gilliam were other big plays in setting up the only touchdown.
Lovejoy seemed flat in moving the ball in the second half and it nearly cost the Wildcats.
The Tigers stopped Lovejoy and took the ball at the Wildcat 39 after a poor punt.
A fourth-down pass from LeClerc to senior Rashad Kiner and a 15-yard penalty against Lovejoy moved the ball to the Wildcat 14 starting the fourth quarter. The drive stalled at the Lovejoy 8, but Mulambo missed a 25-yard field goal wide.
Sophomore defensive back Jermaine Hough stopped Mundy's Mill's last possession with an interception.
Defensively, senior linebacker Omari Jones had a strong game with several tackles for Mundy's Mill, while Lovejoy's Hondo Carter also had many tackles.
Samuels finished with 25 carries for his 189 yards. Hardison finished 3-for-5 for 66 yards through the air and one interception. All his receptions were in the first half. On the night, Lovejoy finished with 290 yards in total offense.
Thurman finished with 51 yards rushing to lead Mundy's Mill and LeClerc passed for 62 yards on 7-of-16 passing with two interceptions. The Tigers finished with 139 yards in total offense.