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Rex Mill, Roberts clash in key game

Rosby Johnson says his M.D. Roberts Middle school team is fired up about its regular-season finale against rival Rex Mill on Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Rosby Johnson says his M.D. Roberts Middle school team is fired up about its regular-season finale against rival Rex Mill on Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

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M.D. Roberts will be counting on Deighton London to help the Rams in Tuesday’s game at Rex Mill, which could decide the top seed in the middle school playoffs. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

The M.D. Roberts and Rex Mill regular-season finale on Tuesday has the makings of everything you look for in a rivalry.

Roberts can complete an undefeated season, and would tie Eddie White Academy for the top spot for the playoffs. A Rex Mill win would give them a second seed and knock Roberts to third.

If Roberts and White end up tied for the top seed, they would have a coin flip. White, which has a 6-0 record, has completed its regular season.

“This game is huge for both teams,” Roberts coach Rosby Johnson said. “I think our team is ready for the game. We just can’t let them out physical us.”

Last season Rex Mill (4-1) defeated the Rams twice, including a win in the semifinals of the playoffs en route to their championship.

The Yellow Jackets (5-0) lone loss was 18-12 to White in the third week of the season. White would clinch the top seed in the playoffs with a Rex Mill win. It would also give the Yellow Jackets the No. 2 seed in the postseason.

“This is the way the season is suppose to end, with Rex Mill and Roberts playing for something,” said Rex Mill coach Eric Henderson, who once coached on the Roberts staff.

Henderson took over the helm at Rex Mill just before the season after coach Rodney Screen was promoted to an assistant principal position at a nearby elementary school.

Henderson said that since the team’s loss to White, they have taken on a new mentality.

“We have closed ranks, and it has been sort of a me against the world approach,” Henderson said. “If there is any pressure, it comes from within our team. We pride ourselves on excellence. It doesn’t get any bigger than this for a regular season game.”

The rivalry between the two schools started when Rex Mill was housed in the same building as Roberts during the construction of their campus. Several coaches from Rex Mill were on the Roberts staff before the schools split.

“We got a lot of respect for each other,” Johnson said. “We will see who is the best team on the field. All our players know each other from their rec days. I think it’s going to be a good game.”

The first round of the playoffs will be on Oct. 15 at Tara and Twelve Oaks stadiums, with the championship game schedule for Oct. 29 at Twelve Oaks.