By Brian Paglia
Mundy's Mill coach Peniel Dany crouched on the sideline near midfield as the meaningless portions of the Tigers' 26-7 win over Jonesboro on Thursday played out.
He couldn't see players coming from behind to shower him with a downpour of ice water.
Few could have seen this performance coming.
Toren Coombs rushed for 154 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries, the Tigers (1-6, 1-6 Region 4-AAAA) defense forced two turnovers and Mundy's Mill ended a nine-game losing streak dating back to last season.
"We worked very hard," Dany said, "and I just wanted these guys to get over the hump and see what it feels like. This is the second win in two years, but it's a work in progress. We're going to get there. Right now we're getting kicked around a little bit, but this too shall pass."
Only three seasons have passed since Mundy's Mill last had a strong reputation in football -- the Tigers were 17-14-1 with two playoff appearances from 2005-07 -- but the Tigers' decline was so severe, it seemed much like longer. After making the playoffs in 2007, the Tigers had gone 1-25 entering last night.
Mundy's Mill's 26 points were the most since a 39-12 win over Morrow on Nov. 8, 2007. The Tigers entered Thursday averaging just 4 points a game on offense.
Jonesboro (2-4, 2-4) tried to catch Mundy's Mill off guard on the opening kickoff with an onside kick.
The Tigers recovered on their own 45-yard line and moved to Jonesboro's 1 on a 47-yard run by Coombs. A 1-yard push into the endzone and Mundy's Mill took a 7-0 lead just 1:20 into the game.
"Whenever our guys see one of our other guys do well and get a big run, such as Toren did, it motivates the team to let them know that we can do it," Dany said. "Toren did such a great job for us. He carried us on his back."
To its own surprise, Mundy's Mill produced several big players Thursday.
There was Coombs' 48-yard run to the Jonesboro 21 on the Tigers' first play of the second half, which led to George Mulumba's second field goal of the game and a 13-0 lead.
There was Chris Bryant's interception of Jonesboro quarterback Alejandro Bennifield (8-of-12 passing, 78 yards, one interception).
Bryant then caught a 22-yard pass from Anthony Hammond (10-of-14 passing, 126 yards) to move Mundy's Mill into the red zone. Six players later, Coombs scored his second touchdown.
There was the fumble recovery on Jonesboro's 17. Coombs needed just one play to get into the end zone again and give Mundy's Mill a commanding 26-0 lead with 10:40 left in the game.
"We tweaked some things (this week)," Dany said.
"We shortened our playbook a little bit ... and make it to where our guys can understand it, where they can really focus. Right now in our playbook we have five running plays and two pass plays and that's it. We're just going to run with that and see what we can do."
Mundy's Mill held Jonesboro to just 69 yards of offense in the first half and dealt the Cardinals a serious blow to their slim playoff hopes. Jonesboro still has games left against Lovejoy, North Clayton and Banneker.
And the Tigers injected a reason for optimism into their season.
"All we need is a taste of victory," Dany said, "and hopefully the guys'll start rolling. We're going to take this one game at a time."