Rodricous Gates has passed for 507 yards for the Mundy’s Mill Tigers heading into tonight’s key subregion game at Drew. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
HAMPTON — There is no question that the quarterback position is perhaps the most important position on the football field.
Sometimes a team’s success can be gauged at how well the quarterback is performing as a leader and performer.
As Mundy’s Mill and Drew — both soon to be showing up on region foe Union Grove’s schedule — head into tonight’s important Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A showdown at Southern Crescent Stadium, the teams are being led by their quarterbacks.
Sure, both teams have gotten solid performances from their running backs, but the emergence of the quarterbacks have been noted by the teams’ coaching staffs.
“He has come a long way for us,” Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior said of junior quarterback Rodricous Gates. “He had a good summer in the passing league, but developed some happy feet once the pads came on. In the last three games, he has started back going through his progressions and staying in the pocket.”
The second-year starter has started to come into his own against what computer ratings considered one of the toughest schedules in Class AAAAA. Over the last three games, Gates has performed well in close losses at Coffee and McIntosh and in a subregion win against Mount Zion.
Coming into tonight’s game, Gates has completed 42 percent of his passes for 507 yards and five touchdowns. He also has 74 yards rushing on 20 carries and a touchdown.
“I feel as if I’m getting better,” Gates said. “I’m really trying to step up in the pocket and look for my receivers. I feel I’m helping the team now.”
With Drew sustaining offseason injuries which depleted its running back corps, first-year starter Brandon Pearson has had to step up for the Titans.
Now that starter Marquis Terry has returned, Pearson has gotten some relief from the running game.
“The season has gone pretty well, I’m just looking for the team to continue its momentum,” said Pearson, who was the team’s backup the last two seasons. “Having a good running game definitely helps.”
Pearson, who is also a standout baseball player, has completed 51 percent of his passes for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Now, he will face his biggest challenge of the season against Mundy’s Mill. The winner pulls in a two-way tie with Union Grove for the subregion lead.
“Brandon has really handled being a starter well,” Drew coach Jarrett Laws said. “He is definitely making the most out of the opportunity to be a starter. He is building his stats. He is like a second coach on the field.”