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Players from Mundy’s Mill, Houston Co. making first playoff appearance

Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior says his team is “very excited” about the program’s second playoff appearance in school history. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior says his team is “very excited” about the program’s second playoff appearance in school history. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

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Mundy’s Mill running back Rodney Smith enters tonight’s game against Houston County with 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

JONESBORO — Mundy’s Mill and Houston County play a different style of football.

But when the two meet tonight in the first round Class AAAAA playoffs at Tara Stadium, Mundy’s Mill and Houston County will share something in common.

Both enter the 7:30 p.m. game without any playoff experience. It has been 2007 since Mundy’s Mill last played a playoff game while 2007 was the last time Houston County was in the postseason.

His team’s lack of playoff experience is something that has Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior a little concerned.

“Of course I’m concerned,” he said. “We have been telling them to just go out and play like we have the last six games. We are asking a lot of the team, but in the playoffs, you have to stay focused and not get complacent. I know this team is hungry for some more wins.”

Despit its lack of playoff experience, players say they are excited about participating in their first postseason game.

“This is the award for our hard work,” Mundy’s Mill offensive tackle Darius Anderson said. “This is another step in the right direction for our team and school. I don’t think that we are really nervous about it because we believe in our team. We have played some good competition this season.”

This will be only the second playoff appearance for Mundy’s Mill, which opened in 2003. The Tigers’ last playoff was a 35-21 loss to Douglass at Lakewood Stadium in 2007.

While both teams have ended long playoff droughts, neither team holds the notoriety of going the longest years between playoff berths. The team in the playoffs this season that has gone the most years between state-playoff berths is Alexander. The Cougars are 6-4, their first winning season since 1997 (8-3), also the last time that they made the playoffs.

Manior said since both teams haven’t been to the postseason in a while, neither comes into the game with an advantage over the other.

“They have had a drought like us,” Manior said.

The coach said he has been pleased with his team’s attitude and work leading up to the game. He said games against Lovejoy, Coffee and Whitewater have helped prepare his team for this moment.

Maxwell Rating had the Tigers’ schedule rated as the toughest in Class AAAAA this season.

“We have played a good schedule, so we are not as green as people think,” Manior said. “It is a high pressure situation because you know a loss will end your season. Our guys have been real loose at practice. They have said and done all the right things.”

Mundy’s Mill running back Patrick Smith, who has 1,361 yards rushing, agreed.

“We don’t think of it as a pressure game,” Smith said. “I’m pleased at how the team has gone about preparing for this game. We have been very calm, but we have practiced with some urgency.”