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Football: Mitchell 46, Tarpon Springs 14

By Bob Putnam
DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times Players with Mitchell High School's varsity football team celebrate their victory moments after defeating Tarpon Springs High School during Friday√Ę‚\u0082¨‚\u0084Ęs (11/3/17) game between Mitchell High School and Tarpon Springs High School at Mitchell High School in New Port Richey. The victory pushed their record to 10-0.

TRINITY ó Kym-mani King set the tone for Mitchellís season, returning the opening kickoff of the first game 85 yards for a touchdown.

The Mustangs won that game against Anclote.

And kept winning.

King continued to have an impact, such as a last-minute interception that sealed a victory against Berkeley Prep.

Heading into Friday night, the Mustangs had a chance to become the first team in school history, as well as the west side of Pasco County, to finish the regular season undefeated.

Once again, King delivered with perhaps his best game of the season. The junior defensive back returned a punt and kickoff for touchdowns, had another long kickoff return that set up a scoring opportunity and recovered a fumble that led to the Mustangsí final touchdown in a 46-14 thumping of Tarpon Springs.

"I feel like each game I just keep better and better," King said. "Iím seeing things open up for me. It was very satisfying to me because I know a lot of these kids in Tarpon Springs. It was a very personal game for me."

Not only did the Mustangs (10-0) keep their unblemished record intact, they also should have a high enough point average to secure the No. 2 seed in the Class 6A, Region 2 playoff bracket. That would mean at least two home games provided Mitchell keeps winning in the postseason.

After a slow start, the Mustang defense set the tone by recording a safety when the Spongers (5-4) were called for holding in their own end zone.

On Mitchellís next possession, Jakob Mattos hit Chris Thomas on a 35-yard touchdown for a 9-0 lead.

The Mustangs got another safety by sacking Spongers quarterback Justice Parham in the end zone.

Ahead 11-0, Mitchell added to its lead on a 5-yard touchdown run by Mattos and Kingís 65-yard punt return for a score.

By the half, it was 25-0 Mustangs.

In the third quarter, Parham prevented the shutout by scoring on a 1-yard run.

Mitchell responded as King returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown and Mattos hit Stephaun Peters on a 9-yard touchdown pass.

King then came up with a fumble recovery that led to Mychael Hamiltonís 3-yard run for touchdown, making it 46-7 and starting a running clock in the fourth quarter because of the mercy rule.

The Spongers rounded out the scoring on Parhamís 14-yard touchdown pass to Dee Wright.

"We talked this week about relishing the opportunity to go undefeated," Mustangs coach Andy Schmitz said. "Thereís a lot of really good football teams that lose a game early in the season and donít get this opportunity. The fact that we had it, we felt like we needed to finish it."