SIDE VIEW: Long wait looming before playoffs
The game on Week 11 proved to be much the same as the games of weeks eight, nine and 10 – all four have been convincing wins for the Mountaineers. During that stretch, they have outscored opponents 234-41 and the performances have been dominating. After the eight-point loss to Mountain Heritage, the Mountaineers have been on a mission to get ready for the playoffs.
Mitchell came out of the locker room ready to play Friday night and immediately took control of the game. It took two offensive plays only for the Mountaineers to put up the first of their eight touchdowns. By the end of the game, six different Mountaineers had scored at least once. Along the way, Noah Pitman racked up 114 yards rushing with one touchdown. Landon Miller was close behind with 104 yards and three touchdowns.
Additionally, Noah completed 5-of-7 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler McKinney had two receptions and a touchdown. This week again was a solid performance for the offense.
Not to be outdone, the defensive effort was equally efficient. The defense dominated the line of scrimmage from the start and recorded nine tackles for lost yardage. It isn’t very often those kinds of numbers are accumulated in a single game. For the night, super sophomore Ty Sparks led the way for the defense with nine tackles. Other contributors include another super sophomore, Cole Sparks, with six tackles, Landon Miller had six tackles and Hunter Johnson had four. Again, an excellent job by the defense.
There were no doubt questions going into the 2018 season about how successful the Mountaineers would be considering the loss of so many key players from the past three or four years. It isn’t fair to say the 2018 team has been a surprise – the young men on the team this year expected to continue the tradition of success. Over the past five years, head coach Travise Pitman has put together a solid program at Mitchell High School. Along the way, there has been a lot of work that has gone into that process. He has had great kids that have bought into his system and have done the work to make it happen on Friday nights in the fall.
He has also had great assistant coaches that have helped in the development of those young men. Complimenting the coaches have been parents that have trusted the coaches and have allowed them to do their work with these young men. Last, and certainly not least, is a great community that continues to support Mountaineer football.
Many words and descriptions may describe the 2018 season moving forward. For the Mountaineers, as well as most other schools in WNC, they will be off this week to allow the schools that were affected by Hurricane Florence to play make-up games. Next weekend, the playoff brackets will be released. Until then, most likely Saturday, anything fans hear will be 100 percent speculation. Once the playoff brackets are released, things will move forward. There is the possibility the Mountaineers will receive a first-round bye in the playoffs. Again, that is speculation and nothing is a guarantee. Patience, we will talk about real possibilities next week.
Everyone can agree this has been another banner year for Mountaineer football. Going all the way back to August, the No. 1 goal then and now is to win the state championship. For a couple of weeks, Mountaineer fans can take some time off on Friday. But, when the Mountaineers begin the state playoffs, please be ready to get behind them, and they make a run at a state championship.
Chris Pitman gains his views from 40 years of involvement with Mitchell High School Athletics.