Mundy’s Mill running back Rodney Smith tries to break from a Drew tackler during the first half of the Tigers’ 30-14 win at Southern Crescent Stadium on Friday. (Special Photo: Jerry Jackson)
RIVERDALE - When Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior gathered his team near the end zone for his postgame talk, he didn’t go into a long speech.
He just had two words for his team.
“Men, we are two and zero,” he shouted. “All the other stuff don’t matter right now. We are two and zero.”
Manior was making reference to the Tigers’ subregion record after Friday’s 30-14 win over Drew in a key Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A game at Southern Crescent Stadium.
With the win, Mundy’s Mill improved to 2-4 overall and 2-0 in the subregion. The Tigers are tied with Union Grove for the lead in the subregion heading into Thursday’s game against Forest Park.
“Our record is a testament to the guys because they believe in the system,” Manior said. “We struggled at first in the season, but those games helped us become a better team.”
Mundy’s Mill played one of the toughest schedules in the state according to several computer ratings, which included losses to Class AAAAAA teams Lovejoy and Coffee.
“We are trying to make a push for the playoffs,” said senior running back Rodney Smith, who finished Friday’s game with 160 yards on 22 carries while accounting for three touchdowns.
Smith said the team’s early season non-region schedule, which pushed their record to 0-4 heading into the subregion schedule has played a big part in the season’s turnaround.
“It definitely prepared us for this point in our season,” said Smith, who had his fourth straight 100-plus yard rushing game.
He gave the Tigers an early 7-0 lead with a 56-yard touchdown run with 9:20 remaining in the first quarter. Drew would close the gap to 7-6 when Marquis Terry scored on a 4-yard run, but a two-point conversion failed.
Mundy’s Mill would extend its lead to 14-0 when Marquis Kempson scored on a 22-yard pass play from Rodricous Gates with 4:23 remaining in the opening half. Just before halftime, Smith would score on a 39-yard pass play from Gates with 1:22 remaining as Mundy’s Mill led 21-6 going into intermission.
“I was surprised at how wide open I was on the play,” said Smith, who ran into the end zone untouched. “I was expecting a hit. Our quarterback did a good job in getting me the ball.”
Drew would close the gap to 24-14 on a 23-yard run by Terry with 2:17 remaining in the third quarter.
However, the Titans (2-4, 1-1) couldn’t pull any closer.
“My hat goes off to our defense,” Manior said.”They bent a lot in this game, but they would never break.”
Said Mundy’s Mill senior linebacker Jonathan Celestin: “We were moving and flying around the ball all night. We had to react quick to them.”
With the lose, Drew still has a shot at getting back into the playoff race, but the Titans would have to win out its remaining games and get some help.
Drew coach Jarrett Laws says his team has to toughen up if it wants to make a push for the playoffs.
“They were good as advertised,” Laws said. “They just physically dominated us. It is a measuring tool on what we need to work on.”