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ML King on verge of third region title.
ML King on verge of third region title.

ML King Confident Headed Into Showdown
Lions still speaking respect

Total Sports Coverage
Total Sports Coverage

Updated Fri, 04 Nov 2011 22:40:43 CT

LITHONIA, GA - ML King is 9-0, 6-0 in Georgia's region 2-5A, ranked as high as No.59 in one national poll and ranked No.5 in the state in 5A and are going for their second consecutive region title in their regular season finale...against rival the Stephenson Jaguars. It will be the first time the two schools enter the game 9-0, they've met at 5-0 and 6-0.

"It's just another big game, every game this season has been big for us", senior wide receiver and Georgia signee Blake Tibbs said. "All we have to do is make plays, makes the plays were suppose to make", Tibbs continued.

From the atmosphere within the football offices you could tell it's just that. Now on campus and throughout the hallways, it's a tad bit different as students are jacked for a shot to stick it to Stephenson for a second straight year. The students, parents and touchdown clubs know each other and with the schools a little over 12 miles apart in a rich county for high school football, you know the intensity has to be high within the communites.

Kenderius Whitehead, the lead stud on a Lions defense that has only allowed 20 or more points twice to an opponent this season, acknowledges it's a big game but isn't buying in to the hype. "We can't buy into the hype, we've got to execute, play assignment football, use good technique and do what we do", Whitehead said.

ML King has been known the past couple of seasons for it's explosive offense, primarily via the air force as senior quarterback Jonquel Dawson passed for a Dekalb County record 3,610 yards in 2010 as a junior. Dawson is over 1,300 yards away from the all-time state passing record, held by current Georgia back-up quarterback Hudson Mason, but that's his last thought heading into Friday nights game.

"I've got to see the coverage and make the proper reads, it's about effective passing and executing what is in our playbook against this defense", Dawson said about what he feels is the key to a successful outcome.

Head coach Michael Carson echoed those comments.

"For us, we have to execute on offense, our defense has to step up and we've got to force some turnovers and put our offense in good situations", head coach Michael Carson stated.

When asked about Stephenson's explosive running back Mike Davis, Carson rattled off some Davis' season rushing totals and then said, "Yes he's a concern, we've good to contain him".

ML King is in it's 10th season of football and including this season they've posted 9 winning seasons, 5 seasons with 10 or more wins, 9 state playoff appearances and 2 region titles yet are still seeking respect.

"You just look at the history of this school since it opened, there has only been one losing season and that was the first one", Carson lamented after again ripping off numbers on the the history of the school. "The respect is warranted but it's not given", he continued. Carson is 17-8 in his second season at the helm and won one of the school's two region titles in his first season in 2010 (Corey Jarvis, now at Duluth, won the other in 2007).

ML King has yet to advance past the semifinal round of the state playoffs and play in a region that Carson considers "underrated". "Top to bottom this region is one of the toughest in the state", Carson added.

This season the Lions have won games at Region 1-5A, which is considered the toughest in the state and won against Region 7-5A and 8-5A opponents, regions that are in the neighboring county of Gwinnett that are also touted as very tough regions in the state. Yet there is no state title and that maybe what ML King needs to finally garner the respect it's seeking. Do they have enough to win that thing this season, we'll see but even without that, you've got to respect this program to date.

ML King maybe a sleeper in 5A yet they are a herd of Lions you may not to want face come playoff time.


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