A tale of two halves
The first half this past Friday night at Erwin was maybe not so good for the Mountaineers. The second? Pretty good. The reason? Who knows?
This team has worked hard in the offseason preparing for the 2019 football season. There is a good possibility the guys on the team this year have put in as much, if not more work than any team in the past few years. So, why they came out of the gate Friday night a bit sluggish is a bit of a mystery. After the study of the game film though, the performance in the first half wasn’t all bad. It just wasn’t as expected.
Mitchell came out of the locker room after halftime with a purpose and showed it is the team everyone expected from the start.
The second half began with the Mountaineers taking the second-half kickoff and never relinquished the football until they reached the end zone. The performance was much better the remainder of the game. Offensively, the Mountaineers were able to move the ball well on the ground. Senior quarterback Noah Pitman turned in a great night of work with 213 yards rushing.
As a team, the offense pounded out 298 yards on the ground. From the opening of the second half, the offensive line took control of the line of scrimmage and established the Mountaineers’ running game.
At the end of the game and film study, the Mountaineer defense played well. The Erwin offense had shown the ability to be potent in its preseason scrimmages. They have a good quarterback and a stable of speedy receivers that catch the ball very well.
The Warriors’ running game is designed to complement its entire offensive schemes, and the Erwin offense had been effective in the film the coaching staff watched as it prepared for this game. The defensive staff had its work cut out in preparation for the Warriors.
Throughout the entire game, the defense turned in an excellent performance. The Warrior offense was limited to 150 total yards for the game.
This was the third-straight year these two teams have opened the season against each other, and for the third year in a row, the visiting team has won. When these two teams meet, home-field advantage hasn’t been a factor in the outcome of any of the games. All three games have been close and not decided until the second half. It has also developed into a game that has shown these schools promote good sportsmanship and respect.
Next up for the Mountaineers is the 2019 home opener and the Cabarrus Warriors; formerly known as Cannon. Cannon has merged its football with team another school, and it is looking to be competitive.
Cabarrus began its season with a loss, and as of press time, they were playing a game that had been postponed twice due to adverse weather conditions. Former Carolina Panther Brad Hoover coaches Cabarrus. Hoover is a proven winner and knows what it takes to field a winning team. So, the Mountaineers will be challenged again this week. Most likely, the challenges will be different from the Erwin game.
The home opener is always an exciting time at Mitchell High School. It is a time when old football acquaintances are renewed. Young and old fans alike fill the home stands, and many are eager to see the Mountaineers for the first time in the new season. That will be
the case this coming Friday for Mountaineer fans.
It is time to dress in purple and pack the stands to capacity. The Mountaineer Football Family is going to get an opportunity to get a firsthand look at the 2019 team on home turf. Excitement will fill the air as the Mountaineers make their way out of the woods and onto the field. Make plans to be in attendance for the 2019 home opener, cheer them on to a home-opening win, and help the Mountaineers roll on to more wins throughout the 2019 season.
Chris Pitman gains his views from 40 years of involvement with Mitchell High School Athletics.