Mundy’s Mill quarterback Rodricous Gates will try to help the Tigers snap a six-game losing streak to No. 6 Lovejoy on tonight. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
Lovejoy vs. Mundy’s Mill (TO)
Jonesboro at Sandy Creek
Riverdale vs. North Carolina (SC)
Morrow vs. Mount Zion (T)
All games start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted
Stadium key: SC — Southern Crescent, T — Tara, TO — Twelve Oaks
JONESBORO — During his post-practice speech earlier this week, Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior told his players they should play this season with a chip on their shoulder.
After all of last season’s success, which included a trip to the Class AAAAA quarterfinals, Manior and his team still feel as if they are not getting much respect statewide.
“I still feel we are not respected as a team,” Manior said. “We have not been in anybody’s conversation about teams to watch this season. I told them to play with a chip on their shoulder because we still got something to prove.”
And it starts tonight at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
The Tigers have a chance to make a statement as they take on No. 6 Lovejoy in the season-opener for both teams. Lovejoy is a four-time region champ and reached the Class AAAAAA second round last season.
“Our whole goal this season is to show that last year wasn’t a fluke,” Mundy’s Mill senior quarterback Rodricous Gates said. “We want to show that Lovejoy is not unbeatable. We want to accomplish mission impossible.”
This will be the head coaching debut for Lovejoy coach Edgar Carson, who served last year as defensive coordinator.
The Wildcats own an 8-2 record in the series and have won the last six games against their rival.
Manior said Lovejoy will give his team a good measure stick to gauge their progress.
“We’ve got a chance to go out and see what kind of team we have,” Manior said. “Lovejoy is always a solid team each year. I think they have a little bit more this season. I know Edgar Carson will do a good job.”
Lovejoy is led by a trio of all-state candidates including wide receiver Preston Williams, defensive back Montrell Custis and center Randy Robinson.
All three are Division I prospects, with Williams having already committed to Tennessee and Custis to Alabama. Williams is considered the top wide receiver prospect in the state and one of the top in the nation.
While the offense has received a lot attention, Lovejoy also has a stellar defense that consistently ranks among the state’s best.
“They are real aggressive on the defensive side of the ball,” Mundy’s Mill offensive lineman Darius “Pancake” Anderson said. “They will give us a big test.”
Gates is a three-year starter and will be asked to do a lot more this season with the graduation of 2,000-yard rusher Rodney Smith, who is now a freshman at Minnesota.
“We are definitely excited about this game,” Gates said. “We want to show how hard we have worked this offseason. I’m very anxious and can’t wait for the game.”