A year later, Tigers get their revenge on Vikings
by Doug Gorman
HAMPTON - The Northgate Vikings' hopes of advancing to the playoffs for the third straight year came crashing down on the cold artificial turf of Twelve Oaks Stadium Friday night thanks to Mundy's Mill's 27-10 victory.
The two teams met in the Region 4-AAAAA play-in game for the second year in a row with the winner moving on.
This time, the results were not to the Vikings liking as the Tigers' victory ended Northgate's season at 4-6 overall and 1-4 in region play.
Mundy's Mill improved to 6-4 overall and 6-0 in region play.
The Vikings were their own worst enemy, as they moved the ball into the red zone three times in the first half, but only scored once.
'We played hard, but we had opportunities and we just couldn't cash in,' Northgate head coach Tommy Walburn said.
After spotting Northgate a 7-0 lead, the Tigers tied the game at 7-7 at the end of the first half.
The Tigers then took over in the final two quarters, outscoring Northgate 20-7. Mundy's Mill sealed its victory with two fourth quarter touchdowns in a span of about five minutes. Rodricous Gates' 40-yard pass to Marquis Kempson with 6:02 increased the score to 20-10.
Rodney Smith added the second of his two touchdowns, scoring on a 30-yard run with 1:20 left to seal the victory and send the Tigers to the first round of the state playoffs.
A year ago, Smith sat out Northgate's victory against the Mundy's Mill, but Friday night the Auburn recruit who is going to have to decide between pro baseball and college football was the difference- maker, rushing for 145 yards on 21 carries.
The game turned in the the Tigers' favor after a breakdown by the Vikings' special teams in the third quarter. Mundy's Mill's Dana Brown fielded a short punt by Northgate and returned it to the end zone untouched for a 34-yard score. The missed extra point gave Mundy's Mill a 13-7 lead with 9:47 left in the quarter.
Northgate was still in the game midway through the third quarter after James Skalski booted a 34-yard field goal with 4:17 left to cut the lead to 13-10.
The score was set up after Rashad Menefee recovered a fumble for the Vikings. The senior made the most of his final high school football game with two big quarterback sacks.
Malik Wade also had an interception for the Vikings in the second half.
'It's hard for our seniors,' Walburn said. 'You really form a bond with these guys. 'It's hard to see them go out like this.'
If there is a bright spot to the loss, the future looks good at running back, as freshman Ton Evans stepped into the spotlight with the biggest game of his short high school career, sharing the offensive load that is normally reserved for Benton Washington, T.J. Womack and Kevin Teasley.
Evans got the scoring started for the both teams with Northgate's only touchdown of the game, breaking free for a 56-yard touchdown run on the team's first series of the game.
The freshman finished with 125 yards on 15 carries, with the bulk of the yards coming in the first half.
'We are excited for him,' Walburn said. 'He had a really good game.'
Northgate moved the ball into Mundy's Mill territory all three times it had the football in the first half, but came away with just the one score.
Mundy's Mill put together its only scoring drive of the first half one series later. Rodney Smith carried the ball twice during the seven-play, 80-yard drive, including his 20-yard run into the end zone to tie the game.
Northgate's should have put points on the scoreboard right before the end of the first half again, moving the ball deep into Mundy's Mill territory, but the Tigers recovered a fumble with under 22 seconds left.
'I thought the effort was there, the results weren't,' Walburn said. 'We moved the ball up and down the field in the first half, we just couldn't punch it in. They are well coached, and they did a good job of making some adjustments. They took some stuff away and we just never could get our outside game going.'
Tigers 27, Vikings 10 Northgate 7 0 3 0- 10 Mundy's Mill 0 7 6 14-27 First Quarter NG-Ton Evans 56 run (Skalski kick), 5:37 Second Quarter MM-Rodney Smith 22 run (kick good), 7:41 Third quarter MM-Dana Brown 34 punt return (kick failed) 9:46 NG-James Skalski 34 field goal, 4:17 Fourth Quarter MM-Rodricous Gates 40 pass to Marquis Kempson (kick good), 6:02 MM-Smith 30 run (kick good), 1:20