Mitchell earns first-round bye in playoffs

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Mountaineers are No. 2 seed in 1AA West Region

  • 1AA playoff brackets.
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LEDGER – Mitchell High School’s varsity football team is the No. 2 seed in the West Region of the 1AA North Carolina High School Athletic Association football playoffs. 

Mitchell was placed in the 1A bracket this past season but moved into the 1AA this season as a result of increased enrollment numbers. 

As a top-four seed in the region, Mitchell (10-1) will enjoy a first-round bye along with No. 1-seeded East Surry (11-0), No. 3-seeded Bessemer City (7-4) and No. 4-seeded Mount Airy (8-3). 

Mountaineers head coach Travise Pitman said the postseason bye presents a chance to heal up and correct the nuances of his team’s overall game. 

“It puts us back to a state of working on the little things and the details,” he said. “It gives our players a little break before we get started. We’ll take that time to get our bodies healed up and get stronger and get focused back on the stuff we do at Mitchell football.”

The Mountaineers will await the winner of the first-round game between No. 7-seed Polk and No. 10-seed East Wilkes that will be played Friday, Nov. 15, at Polk. 

Despite back-to-back losses to close the regular season, Polk entered the playoffs with an 8-3 record. East Wilkes surged to win three of its final four games to sneak into the playoffs with a 5-6 record. 

Mitchell dealt with Polk, a Western Highlands Conference rival, Friday, Nov. 1, and rolled over the Wolverines in a 33-0 road victory for its second-straight win after the Mountaineers fell to Mountain Heritage in their lone loss of the season. 

Mitchell’s first playoff game, which will come in the second round, is set for Friday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Ledger. 

The other team with a bye in Mitchell’s section of the bracket, No. 3 Bessemer City, will await the winner of the first-round game between No. 6 Swain County and No. 11 Union Academy. 

The winner of the second-round game at Bessemer City will face the Mountaineers, should they take care of business in their second-round game. 

A hypothetical third-round game would be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at Mitchell, regardless of the opponent. 

Pitman said being able to stay at home through at least the first three rounds is a big advantage, but added in the playoffs, every team gives their best shot regardless of seeding.

“It’s a good challenge for our kids,” he said. “We have some strong teams we could face. We need to be playing good football this time of year. Each game brings a new task to us and a new way in which we need to get better.” 

This year’s Regional Championship games are Friday, Dec. 6, with the State Championships being Saturday, Dec. 14, at Duke University’s Wallace Wade Stadium.