Atkins Diet: Mitchell QB Atkins leads Eagles past Miller, 32-12, in huge Region 1-A showdown

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

COLQUITT -- It may not have been the Game of the Week, but it sure felt like it Friday night in Colquitt as the stands were filled with only two colors: red and white.

Mitchell County defeated Miller County, 32-12, thanks to a second-half surge led by quarterback Jesse Atkins.

"It wasn't pretty, but it was a good (win)," Mitchell head coach Dondrial Pinkins said. "(It) doesn't hurt to get a W. I'll take them any way I can get them"

The Pirates' T.T. Barber started the game right where he left off last week against Pelham, scoring the first points of on a four-yard run off the right side with 6:49 left in the first quarter. The PAT attempt hit the left upright, however, so the score stood 6-0 Miller County (4-2 overall, 2-1 Region 1-A).

It took only 20 minutes to finish the first as both teams primarily ran the ball and combined for only three pass attempts.

The Eagles -- who didn't play last week after Seminole County had to forfeit -- couldn't swing the game their way in the second quarter as their three different quarterbacks they used Friday were sacked a combined five times and threw two interceptions before halftime.

On top of that, receiver and Herald Dynamite Dozen selection Justin Scott-Wesley was double- and triple-teamed early on and held to just one catch for 2 yards before halftime, leaving Mitchell (5-1 overall 3-0 Region 1-A) with a 6-0 hole to climb out of.

"Last week, we didn't have a chance to play, so we didn't come out like we should have," Pinkins said. "I think Miller gave us their best shot in the first half. I knew we had to play the type of ball we're capable of playing, and I told them that at halftime if we came out the second half and (did that) we'd (be able to) walk away victorious."

Mitchell started rolling in the second half, scoring on a 24-yard run by Atkins with 9:41 left after Scott-Wesley returned a punt 15 yards to give the Eagles good field position at the 31-yard line.

Scott-Wesley tweaked his ankle on the play and had to be helped off the field, but returned later to score on a 6-yard pass from Atkins with 3:04 to go in the third, making it 13-6 Mitchell after the PAT went wide left.

"Everybody was doubting us before this game," said Atkins, who finished with 11 carries for 123 yards. "But we came in prepared and just went to work."

There was a brief scare at the end of the third when Atkins dove for the end zone after a 13-yard run and was pushed out of the bounds -- and right into a referee. The play looked like it could have easily broken or seriously injured the officials' leg, but he was able to get up and walk off the field.

Marvin Grant struck next for Miller at the start of the fourth when he broke through the defense for an 85-yard run, but he couldn't convert on the 2-point conversion run as Mitchell still led, 13-12.

Mitchell got a break a few minutes later when Ja'Kyari Jenkins intercepted Miller QB Caleb Cunningham and returned it 65 yards for a TD.

Atkins iced the game for the Eagles with a with a 33-yard run with 2:57 left to make it 26-12 Mitchell, and Desmond Jones -- who also had an interception in the game -- punctuated the win with a 55-yard TD run with 18 seconds left.

"I figured I'd put the game in my seniors' hands," Pinkins said. "I put the ball in his hands and let him make the big decisions. We have some things we need to correct for the next game, but overall, we did a good job."

Modzelle Atkins finished with 99 yards on the ground for Mitchell, which faces Randolph-Clay in its homecoming game next week.

Barber and Grant combined for 166 rushing yards for the Pirates, who also have their homecoming game next week against Calhoun County.