SIDE VIEW: Erwin's speed poses problem
There were signs during this past Friday’s scrimmage at Enka that this is going be a good year for Mitchell football. With every possession, the Mountaineer offense churned out yards either through the air or on the ground. From the first snap, the offense struck quick on a 48-yard completion from Noah Pitman to Garrison Phillips. Several running backs had an opportunity to carry the ball, and all of them made the most of their touches. For the night, the Mountaineers executed several phases of their game plan.
Defensively, the Mountaineers had a good night as well. There are probably more questions and concerns about the defense than the offense entering the 2019 campaign. Coming out of the Enka scrimmage, the defense was a pleasant surprise. As is the case with this scrimmage, the coaches wanted to use it as an opportunity to see how each young man has progressed and which players are ready to contribute now and which players may take more work getting ready.
As I mentioned this past week, the preseason has been a bit longer than in the past. It is challenging to stay focused mentally and physically when there is a long time between the start of the season and when teams are getting ready for the next opponent.
Head coach Travise Pitman and his staff have done an excellent job of keeping the players engaged and progressing in preparation for this season. With that being said, on Friday, the Mountaineers were ready to get into a game-type situation and see an opponent. They were prepared to compete against someone other than themselves.
Before the varsity scrimmage, the Mitchell junior varsity team took the field for the first time this season. Wow! They played extremely well. They exceeded expectations. They put up three scores and gave up only one. But, it came at an insignificant time in the scrimmage. As the 2019 season rolls along, I encourage Mountaineer football fans to go out at 7 p.m. Thursdays and watch these young Mountaineers. It wouldn’t be a surprise for this team to have a great year and be in the mix for the conference championship.
The first scheduled opponent for the Mountaineers is the Warriors from Erwin High School. They are an excellent team with lots of weapons, primarily speed – lots of speed. They have great speed at receiver and running back. Their linebackers and defensive backs are fast, too. It will be a considerable challenge for the coaches to come up with a game plan to neutralize Erwin’s speed. Their offensive and defensive lines may not be as big as what we have seen in the past two years. But, the speed they have is as good or better than any team the Mountaineers will face this year. So, it will be a tall order for the Mountaineers this week.
Two years ago, the Mountaineers traveled to Erwin to take on an outstanding team. Fortunately, they were able to come away with a big win. That game is in the past. The future for this Mountaineer team is now, and they need all the support they can get. Please make plans to travel and attend this game and be ready to cheer them on to a victory this season. Make sure you wear your purple and make lots of noise for the Mountaineers. Your support means more to the guys on the team than you will ever know. Let’s get all of the Mountaineer football family out early this year and get things rolling along for the Mountaineers.
Chris Pitman gains his views from 40 years of involvement with Mitchell High School Athletics.