SIDE VIEW WITH CHRIS PITMAN
The 2017 football season got off to a successful start Friday night for the Mitchell Mountaineers. They took the opening kickoff of the year for a TD following a long, time-consuming drive.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Mountaineers recovered the ball and drove for their second score of the night. Before Erwin’s offense took its first snap, the Warriors already trailed the Mountaineers by 14 points. By halftime, the Mountaineer offense added another TD and had an advantage of 21-0.
The Warriors came out after the half and started attacking the Mountaineers. As the game unfolded, this became a “grind-it-out” game. In the first half, the Mountaineer offense kept grinding it out with their ground game and in the second half the Warriors ground it out with their short passing game. Also in the second half, the Warriors made a quarterback change and their offense found its rhythm. At the end of the night, the Mountaineer defense had made enough plays to preserve the win.
One of the keys to a successful offense at any level is being able to run the football and Mitchell’s offense achieved that goal. Running backs Noah Pitman, Ben Robinson and Landon Miller and quarterback Ben Young all had a good night running the football and should be commended for their efforts. But, most of that would not have been possible without the hard work in the trenches by the offensive line. Three linemen are back in their same spots from this past year – Jesse Pressley, Hudson Boone and Garrett Buchanan. Trevor Self has moved from center to tight end. Newcomers are seniors Josh Stamey and Zack Richardson. This group paved the way for the backs to have a good night running the ball. Some people said they dominated the line of scrimmage.
The defensive line played well, too. Over the past several years, Erwin has had a high-powered offense that has run and thrown the ball effectively. Coming into this game, the Warriors had shown they could again do both. The Erwin offense became basically a one-dimensional team as the game wore on. In the second half, Erwin’s success came by way of their its passing game. The guys up front set the tone for the defense the entire night.
As the 2017 season unfolds, the guys up front will play a huge role in the success of this team. They have worked hard in the weight room for four years and hope to reap their rewards this year.
The crowd at Erwin was excellent. It was a great showing from the Mountaineer family for this team. The young men are very appreciative for support on Friday. But, there is a huge challenge ahead this week for the 2017 home opener. Cannon High School pays its first visit to Memorial Stadium. They are a talented team from the Concord area. Their head coach is Brad Hoover, an 11-year veteran of the NFL that played for the Carolina Panthers and had a storied career at Western Carolina. Cannon will be a well-coached, well-disciplined team that will play hard the entire game. The Mountaineer coaches and players do not expect the Wildcats to be a pushover.
For this 2017 home opener, the coaches and players are asking the loyal Mountaineer fans and Mountaineer family to fill the stands for this big, early nonconference game. As has become the tradition for home games; wear lots of purple, bring your cowbells and noisemakers. They all encourage the team from the start to finish. All team members look forward to seeing the stands filled this week.
Chris Pitman gains his views from more than 40 years of involvement with Mitchell High School Athletics.