Mitchell slays Titans
LEDGER – The Mitchell High School varsity football team will attempt to keep rolling in its second road game of the week Friday, Sept. 20, at Franklin.
Mitchell (4-0) played its fourth game of the season Monday, Sept. 16, at McDowell and handily defeated the Titans 55-8.
The game was originally scheduled for Friday, Sept. 13, but was postponed due to weather.
The Mountaineers have just three full days to prepare for Franklin, which is 0-4 and desperate for a win.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Travise Pitman, Mitchell head coach. “It’s going to be demanding for our kids to play Monday and then turn around and start getting ready for Franklin on Tuesday. We have to be on our A-game. There’s nothing we can do about it.”
Franklin opened the season with a 34-6 loss at Asheville and after back-to-back losses by 10 points or fewer, the Panthers were routed 27-0 at home Friday, Sept. 13, by Swain County.
The Mountaineers and Panthers squared off in Week 5 of the 2018 regular season in Ledger, but Franklin entered that game with a 3-1 record in tow.
Mitchell handled Franklin 41-20 and ran wild on the Panthers to the tune of 320 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Franklin went on to finish 6-5 in the regular season and lost its first-round playoff game to Bandys.
Franklin’s 6-6 finish this past season was unchartered territory for head coach Josh Brooks, who before 2018 had led his team to a winning record in nine straight seasons.
Travise Pitman said Franklin’s rich tradition will have them motivated to get on track against Mitchell.
“They’re 0-4 but they’re not what their record indicates,” Travise Pitman said. “They’re a physical team and they’re hungry for a win. They’re going to give us everything they’ve got. They’re used to winning.”
This year’s Franklin team is reliant on its running game. Senior quarterback Noah Sitton has struggled through the air, completing just 34 percent of his passes for 250 yards.
Sitton has thrown five interceptions with no touchdowns and has a quarterback rating of 12.7. He has run 43 times for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Panthers rushing attack is paced by junior Seth Price who leads the team in carries (67), rushing yards (305) and rushing touchdowns (four).
Junior Evan Klatt gives Price a rest when needed and has run 25 times for 120 yards and a touchdown.
Price and Klatt are also standout defenders for the Panthers. The two lead the team in total tackles with 29 and 25, respectively.
Sitton, senior Jarrett Evans and sophomore Devyn Blackburn lead the Panthers in the secondary.
Sitton and Evans each have one interception and Blackburn has two passes defended.
Friday will be Franklin’s fourth-straight home contest. After starting on the road in Week 1, the team has played at home every week since. The Panthers went 4-2 at home in 2018 compared to 2-4 on the road.
“That’s another advantage for them,” Travise Pitman said. “It’s good for us. It sets us up to show that we can stay focused. Times like this might come again where we have to travel down the road in the playoffs.”
Following the game against Franklin, Mitchell has just one non-conference game left at home against East Henderson. After East Henderson, the Mountaineers get a week off before opening Western Highlands Conference play at Owen.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday in Franklin.