TRINITY — Gulf seemed like the perfect homecoming opponent for Mitchell.
After all, the Bucs had been outscored 134-19 in the past three weeks and Mitchell was facing a daunting Class 3A, District 7 schedule in the coming weeks.
But the Mustangs' playoff hopes were all but dashed Friday as the Buccaneers held the Mustangs to minus-32 yards rushing in a surprising 24-10 victory.
"They were a man down without (running back Ricky Trinidad)," Gulf coach Ken Hollar said. "Without him it hurts and when he went down it was hard. It's a huge win but (Mitchell) played hard."
A few weeks ago it seemed like Mitchell's run would end after Trinidad's season-ending knee injury. Friday night just made Mitchell's chances escaping 3A-7 a lot tougher, with an upcoming stretch of games vs. unbeaten Sunlake, Pasco and Land O'Lakes.
Mitchell (5-2, 3-1) jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the second quarter after knocking Gulf quarterback Will Fulmer out of the game with a knee injury. The Buccaneers (4-3, 1-3) answered on a Kris Aratchiysky (17 carries, 194 yards) 20-yard touchdown run with 7:35 left in the second.
Gulf took a 12-10 lead in the third quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by T.J. Blount (11 carries, 56 yards).
From there Gulf's defense stifled Mitchell, picking off Mustangs quarterback Matt Michaels (11-of-23, 138 yards) three times and sacking him four times. Michaels was injured late in the fourth quarter and did not return. The Mustangs were outgained 353-106 in total yardage.
"We got it in the locker room from coach at halftime," Gulf quarterback Ty'Shon Peters said. "We expected to win this game easy. We came out in the second half wanting to get this win for (Will Fulmer)."