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Mundy’s Mill faces state’s top QB prospect

Mundy’s Mill defensive coordinator Dwayne Davis and his defensive staff will have to devise a gameplan to slow down Gainesville record-setting quarterback Deshaun Watson this Friday. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Mundy’s Mill defensive coordinator Dwayne Davis and his defensive staff will have to devise a gameplan to slow down Gainesville record-setting quarterback Deshaun Watson this Friday. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

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Mundy’s Mill running back Rodney Smith is 16 yards away from reaching the 2,000-yard mark for the season. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

JONESBORO — Mundy’s Mill will face its toughest challenge of the season on Friday when the Tigers face third-ranked and defending state champion Gainesville in the quarterfinals of the Class AAAAA playoffs.

The Tigers will face one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Gainesville senior Deshaun Watson, who owns the majority of the state’s passing records.

It will be a contrasting of styles on Friday at Bobby Gruhn Field when Mundy’s Mill meets the Red Elephants in the 7:30 p.m. game.

While the running of senior Rodney Smith has been the catalyst of the Tigers offense with his 1,984 yards and 24 touchdowns, the Red Elephants have compiled an 11-1 record with its aerial attack led by Watson, who has passed for 3,233 yards.

“Right now, there is no better quarterback in the state than Deshaun Watson,” Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior said. “Let’s be honest, we would be crazy not to think that he is a great quarterback. He owns all the passing records in the state. We have a big job ahead of us. We have got to do a good job on defense, and on the offensive side of the ball.”

In last Friday’s second-round win against South Paulding, the state’s all-time leading passer threw for 423 yards in the 51-12 home win.

Smith had 267 yards rushing on 26 carries and four touchdowns in the Tigers’ win at Lee County to advance to the quarterfinals.

For his career, Watson has 12,593 passing yards with the opportunity still on the table to go over 4,000 yards passing for the second year in a row.

Against South Paulding, Watson threw for five scores to push his career total to 208 touchdowns, combined rushing and passing.

To reach 4,000 yards passing this season, Watson needs 767 more yards in the 2013 postseason.

Last week, the Tigers also faced a top quarterback prospect in Stephen Collier, who had a hand in all five touchdowns scored by Lee County. Mundy’s Mill won 41-34, but Collier, an Ohio State commitment, got it done through the air with 238 passing yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 154 yards and three touchdowns.

“It wasn’t enough obviously,” Collier said bluntly when asked about his performance. “We didn’t win the game, so it wasn’t enough. That’s all.”

His coach begged to differ.

“Stephen’s done so much for this football team during his time here and he played his heart out,” Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio said. “I am very proud of him and the effort he gave, as well as the whole team and everything they’ve accomplished this year. “

Now, the task for the Tigers is even bigger against Gainesville, the defending Class AAAAA champions.

“It is obviously new territory for us playing this deep in the season,” Manior said. “Right now, the important thing is that we are still playing for ourselves, and our community. Our guys are playing hard.”