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SATURDAY NIGHT PREP FOOTBALL: Mitchell County pounds on rival Pelham, locks up No. 2 playoff spot

Mitchell County's Tevin Watkins had his second monster game in a row Saturday, throwing for 197 yards in the air, rushing for 134 more, while tossing four TDs and rushing for two in a rout of Pelham.

Mitchell County's Tevin Watkins had his second monster game in a row Saturday, throwing for 197 yards in the air, rushing for 134 more, while tossing four TDs and rushing for two in a rout of Pelham.

CAMILLA -- Wonder who will start at quarterback from Mitchell County next week?

It might just be Tevin Watkins.

Watkins, who stepped in the starter's role last week and went on to become The Herald's Player of the Week, did it again Saturday night against Pelham.

"He's a difference maker,'' said Pelham coach Frankie Carroll, who watched Watkins and Mitchell beat his Hornets, 46-14, in big Region 1-A showdown.

They call the game between the two county rivals the "Backyard Brawl," and it looked like it would live up to the billing early.

But by the time the night was over, it was all Mitchell, which clinched the No. 2 spot in the region and a home field advantage in the first week of the state playoffs in two weeks.

Watkins might just be entrenched at QB by then.

Why not?

He threw four TD passes in one half against Calhoun County last week, and he was even better against Pelham, which is still in the hunt for the playoffs.

Watkins ran for two touchdowns and threw four TD passes -- to four different receivers -- and looked unstoppable at times. He ran for 134 yards on 12 carries and scored on a 14-yard run and on a 15-yard run on back-to-back series in the second quarter. He was even better in the air. Watkins completed 16 of 21 passes for 197 yards and threw TD passes to Yancey Burns (12 yards), Herald Dynamite Dozen selection Ja'Kyari Jenkins (48 yards), Joquil Chester (13 yards) and Modzelle Atkins (11 yards).

"Everything just rolled over from last week,'' Watkins said. "The intensity, the atmosphere, everything. It just took me a while to get into the offense, but now it's really clicking, and we're really rolling.''

Mitchell coach Dondrial Pinkins said he made the decision to stay with Watkins early in the week.

"It wasn't real a tough decision,'' Pinkins said. "He had a real good game last week, and he came out and had another real good game.''

So who starts next week against Terrell County?

"I don't know yet,'' Pinkins began, "(but) I'm pretty sure it will be him.''

Pelham (3-4 in Region 1-A and 4-5 overall) can wrap up a playoff spot with a win against Calhoun County next week.

The Hornets looked ready to beat Mitchell early and took a 7-0 lead when QB Cody Godwin scored on a 1-yard run with 2:14 left in the first quarter to top off a 73-yard drive that was highlighted by big runs from Lorenzo Jackson, who had a 31-yard run, and Desmond Parker, who gained 31 yards on three carries.

But that was it until Jackson scored on a 13-yard run with 5:23 left in the game.

The game turned around on three first-half fumbles by Pelham, which set Mitchell up at the Pelham 34-, 29- and 20-yard lines. Mitchell scored on a Jantae Moore 329-yard run, and back-to-back TD runs by Watkins, who finished off the half with a 12-yard TD pass to Burns with 40 seconds left to give Mitchell a 27-7 lead.

"We played hard all night, and we played really hard for a quarter and a half and stayed with them,'' Carroll said. "But those turnovers ... You can't turn the ball over against a good team like that. You can't turn the ball over like that against anybody.

"But we're getting better,'' he added. "And we're going to keep getting better.''

So is Mitchell. The Eagles (6-3 overall, 5-1 in 1-A) have won four in a row and five of the last six, and their only loss has been to state-ranked and Herald No. 1 Seminole County, which looks as good as any Class A team in the state.

Mitchell made some adjustments early, took advantage of the fumbles and then just soared in the second half as Watkins completed 9 of 11 passes and three more TDs in little more than a quarter.

"Pelham came out and played great. They used a 3-5-3 defense that we hadn't seen,'' said Pinkins, who made some subtle changes in his passing game that opened up some lanes and then opened up the offense. "Then we made a few changes and got going.

"We're playing better (right now). Our defense is playing much better than it did earlier in the year. We are making big plays on defense we weren't making, and our offense is starting to gel.''

After beating Calhoun, 49-16, last week Watkins said Mitchell was like a freight train just taking out anything in its path.

He thinks the train, which has scored 105 points in the last two games, is just starting to pick up steam.

"We're rolling now,'' Watkins said. "And we're going to keep rolling next week against Terrell County, and right into the playoffs.

"We're going to keep rolling -- all the way to the state championship. That freight train hasn't stopped and nobody has hopped off of it.''