by John Goolsby
The Shades Valley Mounties picked up their first win of the season this past Friday night. The Mounties defeated the Homewood Patriots 34-17 on the road. It was a night of celebration not only for the win, but also because Shades Valley saw their playoff hopes gain new life. With the Chelsea win over Huffman, Jamie Mitchell’s team now controls it’s own destiny. “We were very aware that if Huffman won out, and we ended up 3-3, we wouldn’t get in,” said Mitchell. The Mounties will find themselves headed to postseason play with wins over Chelsea and Woodlawn. Shades Valley has only played five playoff game since the 2000 season.
Against the Patriots, the Mounties were led on offense by a strong ground attack. “The offensive line did an incredible job Friday night,” said Mitchell. Junior running back Jordan Pearson, who missed the Briarwood game due to an injury, had 191 rushing yard and three touchdowns. He added 76 receiving yards as well. Davin Bostock also had twenty carries in the game. The defense set the tone early with an interception returned for a touchdown by Marlen Sewell. Later, the opportunistic defense had big stops with interceptions by Joe Lewis and Cameron Harris.
Mitchell’s goal for his first team at Shades Valley was to make the playoffs. He has been talking to his players about that all year. “Only thirty two teams in 6A will be in the playoffs. No player on our team has ever played in a playoff game. With everything that has happened this year, making the playoffs would be a great end to season one,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell has had great success when the regular-season ends. He took his Starkville High and North Little Rock teams to the state champion games six out of the last eight years. Post season play is what drives Mitchell. “The playoffs are literally why I stay in this business. There is no better tournament than high school football playoffs. It doesn’t matter what has happened when they get to the playoffs,” he said.
The game tomorrow night at home against the Chelsea Hornets won’t be an easy one for the Mounties as Chelsea also has playoff aspirations. “We are going to have to weather their emotions. They are riding sky-high…their coaches are preaching the same thing to their kids. It is an absolute must-win for both of us. Emotions are going to play a big part early on,” said Mitchell. Mitchell added, “we are going to have to play good solid football. They are playing for the same thing we are.”
As for the Mounties’ mindset about making the playoffs, “They understand what’s on the table for them. We have to win, we have to take care of us first. The other will take care of itself,” said Mitchell.
“A lot went right for us Friday night finally,” said Mitchell. For a team that has worked hard, played a tough schedule and been in all the games in the second half, the win was just what the Mounties needed.