Thursday, November 23, 2017
Hometeam

Region football: Mitchell 14, Chamberlain 13

RECOMMENDED READING


TRINITY — Mitchell coach Andy Schmitz huddled with his staff over the summer in search of a motto for this year’s team. They knew this was a veteran group capable of continuing the string of postseason appearances the program had already put together.

So they came up with #OTBF.

One to be followed.

The players and coaches knew the meaning behind the hashtag all season, but it was not revealed to the student body until Friday.

The Mustangs’ rowdy student section, the Stang Gang, followed the team as it racked up wins. Those with a rooting interest in Pasco County football kept tabs on Mitchell, too, especially after it went undefeated in the regular season and clinched its third straight district title.

Maybe the rest of the area will start paying attention as well after the Mustangs held on to beat Chamberlain 14-13 in a Class 6A region quarterfinal. It was Mitchell’s second playoff win, one that gives them another home game next week against Ocala Vanguard.

"I knew this was a special team that could do some pretty amazing things," Schmitz said.

The Mustangs (11-0) could not have scripted a better start. They blocked a field goal on the Chiefs’ opening possession.

Then Mychael Hamilton went to work.

The senior, Mitchell’s career rushing leader, ripped off a 61-yard run on third down that set up his own touchdown on a 4-yard burst up the middle for a 7-0 lead.

Chamberlain (8-3) countered as Yahsin Wooten went right around the left end, broke a few tackles and sprinted down the sideline on a 58-yard scoring run that tied the score in the first quarter.

The Mustangs came right back. Jacob Mattos hit an open Treshaun Peters on busted coverage that resulted in a 68-yard pass for a touchdown to go ahead 14-7.

What looked to be a shootout turned out to be anything but. Both defenses clamped down.

The Mustangs were particularly stout. Twice they stopped the Chiefs on downs and made life miserable for quarterback Tyler Riddell, who was never able to get comfortable in the pocket.

Riddell threw for 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions in the regular season, numbers that helped Chamberlain reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008. But he did not throw for a touchdown Friday and was unable to engineer many long drives.

Mattos had three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble), but none resulted in scores. Twice, Mitchell held Chamberlain to field goals in the fourth quarter.

"We struggled a little on offense, but we were still confident because we knew our defense could pull through," Schmitz said. "They’ve been doing that all season."

Late in the game, the Mustangs turned to Hamilton. After gaining 70 yards on four carries in Mitchell’s opening drive, Hamilton was bottled up by a stifling, swarming Chiefs defense.

But when it mattered most, Hamilton found a way to gain yards — and eat up time.

He ran for three first downs on the final drive, including one on third and 12 that sealed the win.

Hamilton finished 142 yards, the 23rd time he has gone over 100 yards in a game during his career.

     
       
Comments
New Weeki Wachee basketball coach transitions from years on college sidelines

New Weeki Wachee basketball coach transitions from years on college sidelines

WEEKI WACHEE — Mark Lee was looking for an accomplished coach to take over Weeki Wachee High’s boys basketball team. Not only did he find what he was searching for, but he may have gone above and beyond with the hiring of Rick Scruggs.The 30-year vet...
Published: 11/23/17
HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball players to watch

HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball players to watch

The regular season for girls basketball is underway and once again the Tampa Bay area is not short on talent. There are good players in just about every gym in the area this winter. Here is our look at the top 25 players to watch. We know there'll be...
Published: 11/22/17
University of Tampa volleyball finds playoff form in time

University of Tampa volleyball finds playoff form in time

TAMPA — Earning an NCAA Tournament bid is usually not cause for celebration with the University of Tampa volleyball program. It has become routine.But after hitting the abyss of a 3-10 record, after players felt their confidence was shot, after coach...
Published: 11/22/17
Unsung heroes on the remaining playoff teams

Unsung heroes on the remaining playoff teams

In the spirit of the holiday, we asked our six remaining high school football playoff teams who they're most thankful for this postseason.Beth Dare, Cambridge ChristianThere is no bigger cheerleader for Cambridge Christian football than Beth, wife of...
Published: 11/22/17
Admiral Farragut’s John Waller commits to USF

Admiral Farragut’s John Waller commits to USF

Admiral Farragut DT John Waller announced Wednesday via Twitter he intends to sign with USF.A three-star prospect per 247Sports, he becomes the Bulls' 23rd non-binding commitment from the Class of 2018, and second from Admiral Farragut. WR Zion Rolan...
Published: 11/22/17
High praise for Clearwater Central Catholic’s linebackers

High praise for Clearwater Central Catholic’s linebackers

CLEARWATER — From Colin McCarthy (Miami/Tennessee Titans) to Caanan Brown (Virginia) to Conner Dorris (Navy), a Clearwater Central Catholic defensive staple has been star quality at linebacker. Think Marauders, think linebackers. It has been a corner...
Published: 11/22/17
Lakewood defenders put early-season blip firmly behind them

Lakewood defenders put early-season blip firmly behind them

ST. PETERSBURG — The turning point in Lakewood High’s football season came on Sept. 2. The Spartans had a lead against rival St. Petersburg on Friday night when rain and lightning forced the second half to be played the next morning.Lakewood imploded...
Published: 11/22/17
Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

TAMPA — For Cambridge Christian, last Friday’s Class 2A region final against Indian Rocks Christian represented a hurdle that the Lancers couldn’t quite clear a year ago. For one Lancer in particular, it was the Golden Eagles themselves that brought ...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Nick Ferrini and Kellyn Trowse

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Nick Ferrini and Kellyn Trowse

HomeTeam Hot Shots Nick Ferrini, MitchellOn Monday, Ferrini embarked on a five-day cruise with 30 family members. "Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, you name it," he said. Destinations during the trip include Key West, The Bahamas and a...
Published: 11/20/17
Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Player of the Week | Michael Penix Jr., Tampa Bay TechPenix, a Tennessee commit, has been good all season and it seems as if he’s getting even better in the playoffs. On Friday night against Palmetto in the Class 7A region semifinals, he was too ...
Published: 11/19/17