2019-20 Mitchell football schedule set
LEDGER – The Mitchell High School football team now knows its opponents, dates and kickoff times for the 2019-20 season.
The Mountaineers are coming off a 10-3 season that ended with a controversial second-round playoff loss to eventual state champion Murphy.
Mitchell played eight of its 11 regular-season games at home in 2018-19 and played both playoff games in Ledger. The team will log more travel miles this season, as it plays six of its 11 regular-season games on the road, including two sets of back-to-back road games in September and October.
Mitchell plays three of its five Western Highlands Conference games on the road after enjoying three of five conference contests in Ledger this past season.
For a third-straight season, the Mountaineers will open against 3A opponent Erwin. The Warriors are coming off a 10-2 season and have finished better than .500 since 2007.
The Mountaineers and Warriors began their annual Week 1 showdown in 2017 when Mitchell traveled to Erwin and won 21-14. In that game, Mitchell built a 21-0 lead in the first half and held off a furious second-half comeback from the home team.
The two teams met again in Week 1 this past season as Erwin visited Ledger and left with a 34-21 win.
The Warriors and Mountaineers will kick off the 2019-20 season at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23.
Mountaineers head coach Travise Pitman said Erwin had become a good measuring stick for where his team is after ending summer practices.
“It puts us up against some speed,” Pitman said about Erwin. “It’s a tough 3A opponent that lets us know where we need to build throughout the non-conference schedule.”
Mitchell’s next three opponents – Cannon, Trinity Academy and McDowell – have also become annual fixtures on the team’s non-conference slate.
The Mountaineers will clash with Cannon and Trinity Academy at home in Weeks 2 and 3. Mitchell beat Cannon 27-14 at home in 2017 and downed the Cougars in a 27-6 win in Concord this past season.
The Week 3 matchup with Trinity Academy will mark the third-straight meeting between the two teams in Ledger. Mitchell beat the Knights 60-9 in 2017 and rolled to a 44-25 victory in 2018-19.
Mitchell and McDowell are familiar non-conference foes, but the Mountaineers haven’t lost to the Titans since 2013.
The Mountaineers will continue their non-conference slate by playing at Franklin in Week 5. Mitchell hosted Franklin this past season and won 41-20. The Panthers followed a dominant 13-1 season in 2017 with a 6-6 campaign this past season.
Pitman said Franklin’s home-field advantage and physical style would present stout tests for his team.
“They’re very physical and always a good football team,” Pitman said. “I thought having them on the schedule last year was very beneficial to us as far as having a team run right at us. They play in a very tough environment. I’d say it’s like playing at Mitchell High. It’ll be good for our guys.”
R-S Central, who has had a homecoming game partnership with Mitchell for the past two seasons, has restructured its schedule due to conflicts after a new team joined its conference and has thus dropped Mitchell from its slate.
The Mountaineers traveled to R-S Central for a homecoming game in 2017 and welcomed R-S Central to Ledger for homecoming this past. The Mountaineers won both of the meetings by a combined score of 86-7.
Instead of R-S Central, Mitchell will host East Henderson on homecoming in Week 6. East Henderson has finished with a losing record in every season since 2012 and is coming off a 5-7 campaign.
After the game against East Henderson, Mitchell has a bye week before opening conference play Friday, Oct. 11, at Owen.
The Mountaineers play three of their first four conference games on the road. After traveling to Owen, Mitchell plays at rival Mountain Heritage before coming home to host Madison.
After the Madison game, Mitchell plays at Polk before closing the regular season at home against Avery.
Pitman said he expects the Western Highlands Conference to be vastly improved in 2019. Mitchell and Heritage were the only teams from the conference that finished with a winning record in 2018-19.
“I think our conference will be good,” Pitman said. “We’re looking forward to it and the tests it presents. We need to be tested and pushed because it gets us ready for the playoffs.”
2019-20 MITCHELL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 at Erwin
7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 vs. Cannon
7:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6 vs. Trinity Academy
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 at McDowell
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20 at Franklin
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27 vs. East Henderson
Friday, Oct. 4 – BYE
7:30 p.m. Friday. Oct. 11 at Charles D. Owen
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at Mountain Heritage
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 vs. Madison
7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 at Polk County
7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 vs. Avery
Home games in BOLD