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Mitchell entered the season with two main concerns: How would the defense’s three new linebackers perform, and could the team’s quarterbacks create big plays on offense?
After a preseason game and one week of the regular season, the Mustangs have alleviated both concerns.
Senior Max Gebler, junior Beau Beck and senior Sammy Miller have inherited the linebacker positions on a defense that shut out Wiregrass Ranch in the classic and held Anclote to 10 points last week.
All three earned positive reviews from coach Scott Schmitz after combining for 43 tackles, but Miller had the top performance with 20 tackles after moving from defensive end to middle linebacker.
“He’s really taken over the leadership of our defense,” Schmitz said. “I can’t be any happier than I am right now with what he’s doing out there. And because he’s new at it, he’s only going to get better.”
The same is true for the Mustangs’ passing game.
Senior Trey Drury took over the starting spot from junior Taylor Schneider and starred in his first performance. Drury completed three of his four passes, throwing for 123 yards and two touchdowns – statistics rarely seen in Mitchell’s Wing-T offense.
The last time the Mustangs had multiple passing touchdowns and more yards through the air was their 51-22 win over Zephyrhills in October 2010.
“I’ve said all along, our quarterback has to make plays when they’re presented,” Schmitz said. “Trey absolutely did that.”
Mitchell received mixed injury news this week heading into Friday’s matchup with Gulf (0-1). X-rays were negative on the ankle of RB/S Christian Trinidad, who has been cleared to play this week. But three-year starting lineman Austin Smith will miss his senior season with a broken leg, Schmitz said. DE Joey Petrella will see more time on the offensive line to make up for Smith’s absence.