WEB EXCLUSIVE: Herald No. 1 Mitchell County routs Pelham in rivalry showdown, clinches 1-A crown; Randolph-Clay beats Calhoun, but will still miss playoffs

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

PELHAM -- What a season it's been for Mitchell County.

Make that all of Camilla.

On the same night the Westwood Wildcats, Camilla's GISA Class A private school, finished a perfect 10-0 regular season and clinched the 3-A title with a win over its biggest rival Terrell Academy, The Herald No. 1-ranked Mitchell County Eagles clinched a title of their own in GHSA Region 1-A.

And their's, too, came against a longtime bitter foe.

The Eagles pummeled Pelham, 47-7, scoring 47 unanswered points after falling behind early to wrap up the region crown in their first season in Class A after dropping down from Class AA this past offseason.

"It feels great right now," said Mitchell County coach Dondrial Pinkins, who is in his third year as head coach. "We came out slow, but we got in a groove and turned things on. Everyone turned it on."

That they did.

Pelham opened the game with a 7-0 lead on a Darius Thomas 15-yard TD catch from Caleb Morrell. But from there, it was all Mitchell.

"We just couldn't do nothing after that first score. Nothing at all," Pelham head coach Jim Morrell lamented. "That's a talented team (Mitchell County). And coach Pinks has a good thing going there. They do a fantastic job. And they showed a lot of class doing it."

On Friday, it was both sides of the ball for Mitchell County doing a fantastic job, including quarterback Jesse Atkins, who rushed for 126 yards and a score, and caught a score from backup QB Cedrick Spooner, who rotates with another QB, Derrick Davis.

And Pelham faced the three-headed monster all night.

Spooner also threw another TD to Georgia commit Justin Scott-Wesley from five yards out, and Davis tossed a TD to Jay Jenkins from 15 yards out.

Of course, who could forget the Eagles' dynamite running back, Modzelle Atkins? He may have only totaled 57 yards Friday, but scored twice on touchdown runs of 5 and 2 yards.

Then came the Mitchell defense, which was led by Jontae Moore, who recovered a fumble and returned it 15 yards for a TD, and had eight tackles, two of them solo. Jequan Williams also added an interception of Pelham QB Morrell and returned it for a TD from 25 yards out.

It wasn't as pretty for Pelham, which will end the season without a victory if it can't beat Calhoun County next week.

Pelham remains winless on the season after having to forfeit two victories earlier this year for using an ineligible player. And the Hornets haven't been the same since.

Coach Morrell self-reported the violations to the GHSA, and in doing so, the Hornets were forced to vacate wins against Baconton Charter and Stewart County. Since then -- in their last five games, including Friday's loss -- they've have been outscored 167-61.

Jim Morrell, meanwhile, says he won't feel sorry for himself, and neither will his players. All the Hornets (0-9, 0-6 in 1-A) can do is go into the final game of the season next week in Edison with their heads held high as they try to end their 2010 campaign on a positive note.

"We'll go to Calhoun County, try to get a win for these seniors and hope we end this losing streak and make this final game the beginning of a winning streak heading into next year," the coach said.

Mitchell County (8-1, 6-0 in 1-A) won't have an easy task in its final game either as it hosts playoff-bound Terrell County, which routed Stewart County, 48-0 on Friday, although no final stats were available from that game. Terrell led the game, 48-0, at halftime.

But will the Eagles let up and rest their starters against the Greenwave for the playoffs since they already have a No. 1 seed and home field locked up?

"No way," Pinkins said. "We're coming full force."



The Red Devils got 19 carries, 140 yards rushing and four touchdowns from Cardaryle Curry on Friday, and another 180 yards on 13 carries from workhouse Johnny Foster, while teammates Tavaris Johnson and Jameel Whitaker also scored in a ground-and-pound rushing attack that had the Cougars hurting all night. Randolph's Alkwan Sullivan added an interception for the Red Devils' defense.

The bad news for both teams, though?

Neither will make the playoffs this season.

"I think we need someone to come up with an ineligible player at this point," Randolph-Clay head coach Daniel McFather half-joked. "All we can do is close out strong with Seminole County next week."

Calhoun fell to 2-7 overall and 1-5 in Region 1-AA, while Randolph-Clay improved to 6-3 overall and 3-3 in region, but that record is still not good enough to make it in the postseason in what's been a brutal 1-A division this season.

"I think we can tie for fourth, but then we lose the head-to-head because we lost to Miller, Mitchell and Terrell, (who are the top three teams) right now. We needed Mitchell or Terrell to lose Friday night, and they took care of business."