Strong second half propels Mitchell to win
LEDGER – Whatever Mitchell High School Head Football Coach Travise Pitman said to his players at halftime this past Friday in Mitchell’s round 3 playoff game against Robbinsville must have worked.
Tied 18-18 at the half, Mitchell (12-1) outscored the Black Knights 27-7 in the second half to claim a 45-25 win and earn a spot in the state semifinals Friday, Dec. 1, against Cherokee.
“We tackled better (in the second half),” Pitman said. “It’s as simple as that.”
No. 2-seed Cherokee (12-1) defeated Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy 47-20 in round 3 to earn a trip to Ledger. The Braves’ lone loss this season was 35-12 to Murphy on Nov. 3.
“Cherokee is a good team,” Pitman said. “They are big and physical and they play exceptionally well. They have big lineman up front and they are hungry just like we are.”
Mitchell defeated Cherokee 45-14 this past year in round 3 of the state playoffs and although the two teams this year resemble those from this past year, Pitman does not expect this game to be as one-sided.
“It’s close to being the same teams that played last year,” he said. “It all boils down to execution and determining who wants it more. Cherokee is coming in here planning to win the game and we must be ready for that.”
Cherokee averages 277 yards on the ground per game led by senior quarterback Tye Mintz, who has rushed for 1,447 yards and 28 touchdowns. Junior running back Isaiah Evans has also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season with 1,177 yards rushing.
“We have to tackle those guys,” Pitman said. “They are weapons on offense and having those kinds of players opens up a lot more options for them.”