0

Upstart Tigers like their defense

Mundy’s Mill defensive coordinator Dwayne Davis says he has simplified some things for his defense, which has helped it the team get on a three-game winning streak. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Mundy’s Mill defensive coordinator Dwayne Davis says he has simplified some things for his defense, which has helped it the team get on a three-game winning streak. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

photo

Junior quarterback Rodricous Gates has accounted for 785 yards and nine touchdowns this season for the Mundy’s Mill offense. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

JONESBORO — When Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior looks at his team’s improvement during the Tigers’ current three-game win streak, he is quick to point to the defense.

Manior says the team’s defense has played a big role in the midseason turnaround from an 0-4 start. Since the team began its Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A schedule, the defense has only allowed an average of seven points per game.

During its 0-4 start, the Tigers were giving up an average of 29 points per game.

Granted, Mundy’s Mill played one of the toughest non-region schedules in Class AAAAA, according to the Maxwell Computer rankings.

That tough schedule has prepared Mundy’s Mill to be much tougher than what their 3-4 record may indicate.

“I really think we are the underdogs in this game,” Union Grove coach Paul Burgdorf said. “The way they’ve played a tough Coffee team close, and I think they’ve got more weapons than us.”

The Tigers’ turnaround have put them in a position to clinch the subregion title with a win over Union Grove tonight at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

“We developed some schemes for the kids that has put them in a comfortable position,” Mundy’s Mill defensive coordinator Dwayne Davis said. “We have also played a lot of kids to help develop some depth. We are rotating a lot of fresh bodies into the game. The kids are doing what we want them to do.”

And that has translated into winning.

“We have learned from our schedule,” Manior said. “I think the players have learned to believe in themselves. They know if they give a little extra, they can be successful.”

Said senior linebacker Jonathan Celestin: “We want to be a good team. I think we have gotten better each week.”

Mundy’s Mill will face its biggest test of its subregion schedule against Union Grove, the defending subregion champion and a second round playoff team last season. The Wolverines have won their last two games after a two-game losing streak against Whitewater and Northgate.

Union Grove comes into the game averaging 25 points per game while giving up only 14 points per contest.

While the team was more run oriented last season with 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Craine, the Tigers are a little more balanced this season. Craine is now a freshman at Tennessee-Chattanooga.

“We have to play with speed and play fast,” Davis said. “Our kids have to know their assignments and execute. I’m definitely proud of the progress we have made. The first three games were a test for us.”

The Wolverines are averaging 167 yards passing and 126 rushing per game.

Union Grove is led by Jonathan Slade, a 6-foot-5 junior quarterback. He has passed for 1,172 yards and 11 touchdowns. The ground attack is led by freshman Trevor Gear, who has gained 381 yards and scored five touchdowns. Gear has been hampered with a knee injury sustained against Ola two weeks ago. Junior tailback Chad Reaves has stepped in with a pair of 100 yard games for the Wolverines who have 881 rushing yards.

“This is a big game for us because we are playing for the No. 1 seed,” Mundy’s Mill sophomore safety Khalid Hylton said. “They are a very discipline and talented team.”