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FALL SPORTS PREVIEW: Mitchell Football

2018 Mountaineers focused, ready

LEDGER – Things will look a bit different for Mitchell High School’s varsity football team when it takes the field for the season opener at home Friday, Aug. 17, against Erwin. 

The Mountaineers graduated more than a dozen players from a team that finished second in the Western Highlands Conference going 12-2 and winning a pair of state playoff games before falling to Cherokee in the 1A West Regionals. 

Among the graduated seniors are starting quarterback Ben Young, starting wide receivers Brody Smith and Jesse Pitman, running back and linebacker Ben Robinson and starting center Trevor Self. 

Mountaineers head coach Travise Pitman said while the personnel will look different, his expectations for the offense remain unchanged. Mitchell averaged 43.4 points per game this past season and scored more than 40 points nine times. 

Young, who committed to a preferred walk-on spot at Appalachian State after the season, was a key part of the team’s offensive success in 2017. He completed 59 percent of his passes and tossed 29 touchdown passes compared to just six interceptions. In his four-year high school career, Young passed for 11,551 total yards and 144 touchdowns. Young also finished as the team’s leading rusher in 2017, running 150 times for 989 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

The Mountaineers will turn to junior Noah Pitman to lead the team at quarterback this season. 

Noah Pitman saw the field plenty as a sophomore running back, racking up 782 rushing yards on 71 carries. He crossed the 100-yard mark twice and averaged 55.9 yards per contest. He also caught nine passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. 

Travise Pitman said Noah Pitman is ready to further prove himself as the team’s field general.

“I’m not sure Noah will be the same as Ben,” Travise Pitman said. “I think he’ll bring his own unique football abilities with him. Both quarterbacks will leave their mark here at Mitchell.”

Although Noah Pitman will not have receivers Brody Smith and Jesse Pitman, who together had more than 1,300 receiving yards in 2017, he will have passing targets. Junior Tyler McKinney, who had 15 catches for 196 in 2017 as a sophomore, will likely be a prime receiver this season.

Mitchell will look to senior Landon Miller to anchor the running back position. Miller ran 68 times for 532 yards and six touchdowns in 2017. 

All-Western Highlands Conference lineman Hudson Boone returns as a senior and will be relied upon as the stalwart of the Mitchell offensive line. The 6-3, 270-pound lineman started on the offensive line as a junior and also started on the defensive line where he recorded seven tackles for a loss and a pair of sacks. 

“Landon Miller is one of those kids that will need to step up,” Travise Pitman said. “Hudson Boone needs to be a leader for those five guys up front.”

Defensively, Travise Pitman said the team hasn’t made significant changes. 

The Mountaineers allowed just 15.8 points per game in 2017 and held opponents to 10 or fewer points six times, including one shutout. 

Travise Pitman said the focus is on simple defensive schemes and sound fundamentals. 

“We really haven’t changed much,” Travise Pitman said. “We’ve just tried to simplify things and make sure the kids understand what we are trying to do.”

With the graduation of Robinson, last year’s starting middle linebacker, the team will rely heavily on Miller and senior Hunter Johnson. Mitchell Blevins, Tanner Duncan, Cameron Greene and Ty Sparks are among those who will compete for reps at the linebacker spot. 

Defensive backs coach Bryan Sparks will have plenty of options to man the secondary this season. Yahir Cervantes returns as a senior after recording an interception and a pass breakup this past season. Noah Pitman recorded a team-high six interceptions in 2017.

Sawyer Blevins, Logan Hudgins and Harrison Horney return as defensive backs after battling for playing time in the secondary this past season. 

Travise Pitman said the preseason has been all about players learning their roles. With summer practices coming to an end, he said the team is ready to get under the Friday night lights.

“Every day we talk about doing your job,” Travise Pitman said. “We’re not worried about where the ball is but rather that you have 10 guys around you. If you do your job, everything else will take care of itself.”


2018 Mitchell Varsity Football Roster

No. Name Ht. Wt. Class Position

2 Landon Miller 6’0” 205 12 RB/LB

3 Yahir Cervantes 5’10” 165 12 WR/DB

4 Hunter Johnson 6’2” 205 12 TE/LB

5 Ty Pitman 5’11” 160 10 WR/DB

6 Sawyer Blevins 6’1” 180 12 WR/DB

7 Noah Pitman 5’10” 195 11 QB/DB

8 Logan Hudgins 5’7” 160 11 WB/DB

9 Ty Sparks 6’0” 185 10 WB/LB

10 Tyler McKinney 6’1” 190 11 WR/LB

11 Garrison Phillips 5’11” 150 11 WR/DB

14 Cole Woodard 5’8” 140 10 Kicker

16 Tyler Currier 6’1” 160 11 WR/DB

18 Harrison Horney 5’8” 140 10 WR/DB

21 Jordan Cox 6’0” 180 12 WB/OLB

22 Tanner Duncan 5’10 175 10 RB/OLB

25 Dylan Lowery 5’6” 140 11 WR/DB

26 Cameron Greene 6’1” 170 11 RB/LB

28 Ethan Roe 5’11” 180 11 WR/DB

30 Seth Goforth 5’9” 170 11 TE/DL

32 Ethan LaPlante 5’9” 185 12 RB/DB

44 Mitchell Blevins 6’0” 210 11 RB/LB

50 Garrett Greene 6’0” 245 12 OL/DL

51 Mason Bullis 6’1” 185 10 OL/DL

52 CJ Hedrick 6’0” 200 10 OL/DL

54 Matthew Gilbert 5’10” 230 11 OL/DL

55 Austin Hudgins 5’10” 180 10 OL/DL

60 Logan Beaver 6’0” 280 11 OL/DL

70 Hudson Boone 6’3” 270 12 OL/DL

73 Michael Robertson 6’6” 305 11 OL/DL

75 Logan Fox 6’2” 285 11 OL/DL

77 Lathan Atkinson 6’1” 310 11 OL/DL

80 Kade Hoilman 6’1” 210 11 TE/DL

85 Hunter Lowery 6’4” 220 10 TE/DL

88 Cole Sparks 6’1” 225 10 TE/DL

Head Coach: Travise Pitman

The MItchell News

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