Mitchell falls to Erwin in season opener
LEDGER – A strong second quarter was enough to vault Erwin High School’s varsity football team past Mitchell High 34-21 this past Friday in Ledger in the regular-season opener.
Erwin (1-0) used 20 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a lead it did not relinquish.
Mitchell (0-1) jumped out to a 7-0 lead by capping off its opening drive with a four-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Noah Pitman.
The Warriors responded early in the second quarter, tying the game at 7 when senior quarterback Kendrick Weaver found junior Mikey Gettman for a 25-yard touchdown.
Senior linebacker A.J. Dean intercepted a Noah Pitman pass later in the second quarter and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown, pushing Erwin’s lead to 14-7.
Weaver tossed his second touchdown pass of the quarter less than a minute after the interception, and the Warriors took a 20-7 lead into halftime.
Erwin received the second half kickoff and capped off the first drive of the third quarter with a 13-yard touchdown run by Weaver.
Noah Pitman threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Tyler McKinney midway through the third quarter, and just minutes later, Noah Pitman ripped off a 68-yard touchdown run to cut Erwin’s lead to 28-21.
Immediately following the touchdown run, Erwin senior corner Simeon Thompson provided the critical blow, returning the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to restore the Warriors’ two-score lead.
The Mountaineers started two drives in the fourth quarter, but both were cut short by fumbles.
Mountaineers head coach Travise Pitman said the game was a good early-season measuring stick.
“I thought we grew up a lot,” Travise Pitman said. “We played a very physical and talented team. We can get better. We have a lot of work we can do to get better.”
In his first start as a varsity quarterback, Noah Pitman completed 3-of-9 passes for 81 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He was the team’s leading rusher with 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17 carries.
McKinney caught all three of Noah Pitman’s completed passes.
Senior Landon Miller ran 15 times for 65 yards and led the team in tackles with eight.
Weaver completed 16-of-25 passes for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns while running 16 times for 99 yards and a score.
Travise Pitman said quarterbacks that talented don’t show up on the schedule every week.
“His quickness and his toughness really showed the caliber of quarterback he is,” Travise Pitman said about Weaver. “I’m not sure we’ll see one like that again this year, but if we do, we’ve already seen it.”
Mitchell travels to face Cannon (1-0) Friday. The Cougars opened the regular season by throttling visiting North Raleigh Christian Academy 38-0 this past Friday.
“We have a tough schedule,” Travise Pitman said. “We know that, but we’re trying to set ourselves up well for down the road.”
Cannon visited Mitchell in Week 2 last season, and the Mountaineers won 27-14 to improve to 2-0.
After that loss, the Cougars rallied to win three of their next four games and finished last season 7-5, including a state playoff win over Statesville Christian.
“They still run the same offense and the same defense,” Travise Pitman said about Cannon. “Their personnel has changed. I see them as the same or a touch better than they were last year. They do things the right way. They’re a tough little team.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Concord.