Wharton can win its first district championship with a victory.
By BRYAN BURNS
Published October 28, 2005
TAMPA - Wharton coach David Mitchell hopes he can add a new title to his squad's resume after tonight's game against Land O'Lakes: district champion.
Both are 3-0 in Class 5A, District 5 and have clinched playoff berths. The winner earns a home game while the loser will play on the road in the first round.
"We've got a chance to do something that hasn't been done in the history of the school," Mitchell said. In 2002, their only other winning season since the school opened in 1997, the Wildcats did not win the district title but advanced to the state championship game.
Wharton is led on offense by Joel Miller, who has a county-high 1,192 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 173 carries. Quarterback Chris Krcmar is 44-for-102 for 900 yards and 12 touchdowns, and leading receiver Ryan Dixon has 16 catches for 346 yards and six touchdowns.
"I think it's going to come down to protecting the football and controlling the ball," Mitchell said.
Wharton has the second-best defense in the county, allowing 195.7 yards per game. One of the leaders is Joshua Jones, who had nine solo tackles and five assists in last week's 24-14 win against Mitchell.
"We've been practicing hard all week and doing everything to make sure that we don't have any mistakes," Jones said. "They're a good team. When you play a team like that, you have to play perfect to get a victory. We'll have to make every play and have no missed assignments."
Although his team has been one of the county's biggest surprises this season, Mitchell said he believes the season will be incomplete without a district title.
"The most fun I can have (tonight) when the game is over is to watch our guys celebrate winning the district title," Mitchell said.