SATURDAY NIGHT PREP FOOTBALL: Mitchell County crushes Calhoun in key 1-A duel

Mitchell County QB Tevin Watkins threw for 213 yards and four TDs --- all in the first half --- during Saturday's rout of Calhoun County.

Mitchell County QB Tevin Watkins threw for 213 yards and four TDs --- all in the first half --- during Saturday's rout of Calhoun County.

CAMILLA -- Mitchell County's Tevin Watkins completed 13 of 17 passes for 213 yards, and tossed four touchdown passes to make a strong case to be The Herald's Player of the Week on Saturday night in a 48-16 win against Calhoun County.

That's right, 213 yards and four TDs.

Oh yeah, he did all that and more in just the first half. Well, not even the whole first half.

Watkins threw his fourth TD pass of the night with 4:08 left before halftime and then took a seat. He was done for the evening. He could have left the building, because by halftime Mitchell had built the lead to 48-8, and coach Dondrial Pinkins went to his backups.

It was a good night to be a backup for the Eagles.

After all, Watkins is a backup.

"He did an excellent job,'' said Pinkins, who benched his starting quarterback Derrick Davis for disciplinary reasons and went to Watkins, who has been playing on the defensive line. "He didn't get many reps in practice because he didn't know until Thursday. He did a great job executing the offense. I don't know what more you could ask of a backup quarterback.''

Watkins got hot early, and after throwing an incompletion on the second play from scrimmage, he hit five passes in a row, including an 18-yard TD pass to Yancey Burns on a fourth-and-seven play.

It was on.

"We had a killer mentality,'' Watkins said. "It was like we were a freight train running over everything in front of us.''

Burns, who made the 18-yard TD grab with an over-the-shoulder catch in the left corner of the end zone, was just warming up. He went to halftime with six receptions for 104 yards, and half of those went for TDs. Burns caught a 17-yard TD pass with 6:33 left in the half, and caught an 11-yard TD pass with 4:08 left to call it a night. He then joined Watkins on the bench.

"I didn't even realize (we were winning by so much) until I looked up with about two minutes left in the half,'' Burns said. "Everything was clicking on all cylinders. We were unstoppable.''

Calhoun has played everyone tough this season, and the Cougars' defense has led them all year. They just didn't have an answer for Mitchell's passing game.

"They attacked us where we are at our weakest. Our defensive front is all ninth graders,'' said Calhoun County coach John Williams, whose team still has a chance to make the playoffs. "This is the first team that has thrown the ball against us. This is the first team to attack us like that.''

Calhoun, however, was good against the run.

"I think we came out a little sluggish,'' Pinkins said. "Calhoun does an excellent job against the run. They loaded up the box (against the run). We were just lining up and seeing what they would give us, and we were changing plays at the line of scrimmage and finding their weak spot.''

Calhoun threw Mitchell for a 1-yard loss on a running play on the first play of the game, but on third down, Watkins hit Burns with a 14-yard pass, and the Eagles were off and flying. Watkins completed nine of his first 10 passes, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to Herald Dynamite Dozen selection Ja'Kyari Jenkins.

Mitchell's running backs gained only 52 yards in the first half, but the Eagles threw for 238.

Third-string quarterback Bruce Bryant, a sophomore, replaced Watkins and threw one pass in the first half. It was a 25-yard TD toss to Modzelle Atkins.

The Eagles also scored on Daquan Jamison's 26-yard interception return for a TD with 3:03 left in the half that gave Mitchell a 42-8 lead.

A running clock in the second half -- and the fact Pinkins used all backups -- kept the score somewhat respectable.

Calhoun County was led by running back Willie Brown, who gained 123 yards on 22 carries, and scored on a 5-yard run and a 14-yard run. Brown also ran in a two-point conversion.

The Cougars (2-3 in the region 1-A race and 3-5 overall) can still make the playoffs if they win their final two games against Randolph-Clay and Pelham, and Williams feels his kids can bounce back from the one-sided loss.

"Our guys are a different breed,'' he said. "They're young. They will come back from this. We've got to win out to make the playoffs.''

Mitchell (4-1 in the region and 5-3 overall) has already clinched a playoff spot. The Eagles' only loss in the region was to Herald No. 1 Seminole, and if they win their last two games they will finish second and get a home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

"We lost 12 (seniors last year), and eight or nine played on offense,'' Pinkins said. "Now (this year's team) has come back and now we're getting to a pace where our offense is where we want it to be.''