Mustangs improve to 4-1 in dispatching Zephyrhills 41-21.
By BOB PUTNAM
Published October 8, 2004
ZEPHYRHILLS - During pregame drills, Mitchell coach Scott Schmitz found out wingback J.J. Campbell, the team's second-leading rusher, was out for the game with a sprained knee.
It was the type of injury that would have derailed the Mustangs in the past.
But not this season. Not with this depth.
Though it took a half, Mitchell kept its dream season going with a 41-21 victory over Zephyrhills in a nondistrict game.
"We knew what we could do," said Mustangs fullback Spencer Brown, who scored four touchdowns, recorded a sack and recovered a fumble.
"It was just a matter of being patient. We want to keep what we have going."
The Mustangs are 4-1 for the first time and have tied the school record for most wins in a season.
Next week Mitchell will try to take one more step toward winning its first Class 4A, District 7 title with a showdown against Land O'Lakes.
But before the Mustangs could think of the playoffs, they first had to get past the Bulldogs.
It was tougher than expected.
Led by the running and pass-catching of Bryan Thomas, Zephyrhills (2-3) played well enough to take a 14-7 halftime lead.
Thomas set the tone with a 51-yard run on his first carry that set up quarterback Sederrik Cunningham's 2-yard sneak for a touchdown. With the score tied at 7, Thomas put the Bulldogs ahead with a 9-yard reception from Cunningham.
Thomas also caught a 51-yard pass from Cunningham that gave Zephyrhills a chance to add another score before the half.
But there was confusion as to whether the Bulldogs had another timeout (they didn't) and they ended up running two more plays, both runs, to end the half.
"There was a bit of chaos there with the timeouts," Zephyrhills coach Tom Fisher said. "But that wasn't what cost us. We just stopped ourselves. "
Mitchell marched down the field to start the second half and tied the score on Brown's second touchdown, a 3-yard run.
Cunningham fumbled on Zephyrhills' next two possessions, both resulting in turnovers. The Mustangs capitalized on both, scoring on runs by D.J. Crosby and Brown to take a 28-14 lead.
"We responded in the second half by creating some turnovers and were able to come back," Schmitz said. "That's a big confidence booster for us heading into next week's game against Land O'Lakes."