SATURDAY NIGHT PREP FOOTBALL: Mitchell beats R-C, stays perfect in region

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

CAMILLA -- Mitchell County's Eagles might not be in the playoffs yet, but they can see 'em from here.

And that view cleared up considerably after Saturday night's convincing 36-13 victory against Randolph-Clay, one of the early favorites to win the region.

"Everybody has been talking about us and Randolph-Clay,'' Mitchell County coach Dondrial Pinkins said. "I guess we answered the call.''

There might not be answer for The Herald No. 2-ranked Eagles, who now sit atop the Region 1-A race at 4-0 and are 6-1 this year with their only loss coming to Class AA state ranked Thomasville. They're not ranked in the state's Top 10, but can make a pretty good argument that they should be.

They left no argument after Saturday, running out to a 27-0 halftime lead by hitting Randolph-Clay fast and hard from the opening moments.

Who knows how far they can go? They've got three games left in the regular season and if they run the table, the Eagles will win the region title.

"We're in the driver's seat now,'' receiver Justin Scott-Wesley said. "We've just got to keep driving.''

Scott-Wesley, one of the most recruited players in the state, has already committed to Georgia. He's also committed to winning a state title. He looked like it on the third play of the game when he went flying into the end zone with a 48-yard TD reception from QB Jesse Atkins.

Atkins raced for a 42-yard TD runs moments later, and just-like-that it was 13-0. Atkins scored on a 6-yard run to open the second quarter and he completed 7 of 14 passes for 156 yards and a TD and rushed for 75 yards and two TDs in the first half alone -- all before giving way to Derrick Davis, who threw a 31-yard TD to Yancy Burns with 7.2 seconds left in the half to lift Mitchell to a 27-point lead.

Atkins came back in the fourth quarter and finished the night with 138 yards on eight carries and 156 yards in the air. Davis completed 6-of 9 passes for 96 yards and two TDs.

Pinkins has been alternating quarterbacks since last week's 32-12 win against Miller County.

"I think we're going to keep doing it,'' he said. "It's working. If it's not broke, don't fix it.''

Mitchell held Randolph-Clay to a total of 41 yards of offense in the first half, including Tim Stringer's 33-yard run on a fake punt. Randolph-Clay's 1-2 running back punch of Johnny Foster and Cardaryle Curry, who were averaging more than 150 yards each before they suffered ankle injuries, were not a factor.

They limped into Camilla injured, and R-C coach Daniel Mcfather didn't know what to expect from them. He used seven different players to run the ball in the first half. Foster had four yards at halftime, and Curry had 17.

But both were rejuvenated at halftime, and Curry, who scored on a 57-yard run, finished with 90 yards on 11 carries. Foster, who scored on a 21-yard run, finished with 93 carries on 23 carries.

"We're just so beat up,'' McFather said afterward. "But our kids played hard. We found a hole in the second half and got going a little bit. But that's a great team. They've got a lot of speed -- a lot of speed.''

The Red Devils (5-2 and 2-2 in the region) can still make the playoffs, but they've dropped their last two games, and McFather just hopes his kids can get healthy.

"(Like coach said), we're pretty beat up,'' Curry said. "But we're going to keep going.''

Mitchell added a final TD when Davis hit Ja'Kyari Jenkins, who made a spectacular leaping catch for a 12-yard TD, and Modzelle Atkins added a safety late in the third quarter when he tackled Foster in the end zone.

"We started the game sharp,'' Pinkins said, but Randolph-Clay made some adjustments at halftime and I think our kids relaxed a little in the second half. It's a big win for us. We control our own destiny.''

Or like Scott-Wesley said: "We've just got to keep driving.''