Photo by Jerry Jackson
Mount Zion running back Deon Dawson (No. 20) looks for some yardage in the first half of the Bulldogs’ 56-6 subregion loss to Drew on Friday at Southern Crescent Stadium.
JONESBORO — In the first-ever meeting between the Drew Titans and Mount Zion Bulldogs, Drew dominated from the outset Friday. Lester Knauls rushed for 169 yards and four touchdows leading the Titans to a 56-6 win at Southern Crescent Stadium.
The Titans (6-2, 3-1 in Region 4-AAAAA, Division A) outgained Mount Zion 561-143 in total yardage, spoiling the Bulldogs’ Homecoming and sending them to 0-8, 0-4 in the subregion. Drew head coach Jarrett Laws, who left the reins at Mount Zion to start the Drew program some four years ago, was happy to get the win, but had mixed emotions about beating his former school.
“It was bittersweet,” Laws said. “You walk on the field and see the red and black, and there’s always a place in my heart for them, because Mount Zion did so much for me. But at the same time my heart lies with Drew because this is something I have seen from conception to reality.”
On this particular nightr, Laws would see his Titans score the game’s first 28 points. Tracy Gaston opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run with 2:57 remaining in the first quarter. Knauls then scored the first of his touchdowns, a 2-yard dive over the top of the Bulldogs’ defense. Gaston struck again when he raced 31 yards for a score with 11:51 left in the second quarter. Four minutes later, Knauls ran up the middle for a 4-yard score.
Mount Zion showed signs of life when Michael Scott connected with Deon Dawson on a 6-yard touchdown pass. The momentum was short-lived, however, as Knauls scored from 66 yards and Drew took a 34-6 lead into halftime.
“We’re starting to learn our personnel and know our kids, what they can and cannot do,” Laws said. “Our kids are starting to make plays in critical moments.”
Knauls’ yardage came on 14 carries and quarterback Jay Murray completed 8 of 12 passes for 191 yards and a second-half touchdown to Josh McClendon. Knauls also scored the last of his touchdowns in the second half, a 1-yard run, and Jaylin Cambridge ended the scoring with a 32-yard run.
Next up for Drew is Union Grove. The Titans will host the Wolverines in a game with play-in seeding ramfications.
“Union Grove will be extremely well-coached,” Laws said. “The team that wins next week will be the team that makes the least mistakes.”
Meanwhile Mount Zion, which is still recovering from losing five starters to season-ending injuries early in the season, will host Forest Park next Friday at Tara Stadium in a battle of winless teams.
Mount Zion first-year head coach Ervin Starr sees positves his team can build on.
“We’re playing a lot of sophomores and freshmen,” Starr said. “The positive of that is that it gets us better for the following years.”