Photos by Jerry Jackson
A big night by Mundy’s Mill running back Rodney Smith (1) helped the Tigers win their third game in a row and stay perfect in Region 4-AAAAA.
LOVEJOY — From the moment that Rodney Smith went 55 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the opening drive, Mundy’s Mill seemed as if it would have a lot to celebrate on its homecoming.
With Smith powering a potent ground attack, Mundy Mill cruised to a 56-8 victory over winless Forest Park on Friday at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
By the time Smith was done for the evening, early in the third quarter, he had 185 yards rushing on 15 carries and three touchdowns.
“Our guys were looking for Rodney to do something big,” Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior said. “It was exciting to see him do something early to get us going. We started going and never looked back.”
All three of Smith’s scores came before halftime to help the Tigers improve to 3-4 overall and 3-0 in Region 4-AAAAA, Division A, heading into a key game at Union Grove next week.
Both teams are 3-0 in the subregion.
“We are going to have to bring our ‘A’ game over there at their place,” Manior said.
The first-year coach will hope that the Tigers can perform like they did against Forest Park, which has now lost 20 of its last 21 games.
The 56 points is the most a Mundy’s Mill team has scored in a game since the school opened in 2003. The Tigers are also one victory shy of tying a school record for most consecutive wins with four.
Still, the players say there is room for improvement.
“We did enough to win,” said Smith, who has 1,256 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing this season. “We missed some assignments out there.”
But it was hardly noticeable as the team scored on seven of its first eight possessions.
Meanwhile, Forest Park could only manage two first downs, with its first coming with 14 seconds remaining in the opening quarter and the other one with 10:39 left in the game.
Mundy’s Mill held the Panthers to only 54 yards of offense — 43 coming on Forest Park’s lone scoring play with 9:40 remaining.
“We have come a long way since our first game,” Manior said. “Our coaches and players have busted their butts to get to this point. We are seeing some good things now.”
The Tigers got two third-quarter defensive scores. The first came when defensive end Christopher Holmes scored on a 23-yard fumble recovery with 11:09 remaining for a 43-0 lead. The second came on Raleek Taylor’s 15-yard interception with 5:31 remaining in the third, making it 49-0.
“I’m glad to see that our players never let up,” Manior said. “I think they have grown and matured throughout the season. We are learning that we have to play four quarters.”
Next week’s matchup with Union Grove will feature Smith and Union Grove fullback Derrick Craine, who has rushed for more than 800 yards.
It will be perhaps the biggest game in Mundy’s Mill history. The Tigers have a chance to take over sole possession of first place in the subregion.
“We are definitely looking forward to this big game,” Smith said. “I don’t think Mundy’s Mill has ever been in this type of position. We are not used to this. We got beat up early by some teams. Playing against Union Grove is going to be a challenge.”