TRINITY — The momentum shift came on a patch of grass within striking distance of Pasco's goal.
Just beyond the Pirates' 18-yard line, Pasco keeper Gilbert Tanguma was whistled for handling the ball outside the goal box.
Mitchell midfielder Max Rockwell took advantage, blasting a free kick through a wall of legs. The shot pinballed through to the foot of Mustangs winger Robert Coleman, who knocked in the first goal in the 47th minute.
The goal proved to be plenty as Mitchell climbed back into the Class 4A, District 7 race Monday with a 2-0 win against Pasco.
"That was definitely a momentum changer," Rockwell said of being awarded the free kick. "… It was a grudge match. We knew they would come out hard. We had to match their intensity. On any given day when we play our best we can beat anyone. We proved it today."
The Mustangs (10-1-1) avenged their only loss of the season with a solid second half that only improved as the game went on.
Mitchell added a goal late, a two-on-one opportunity. Maxwell blasted a shot saved by a diving Tanguma, which deflected wide to Alex Wegener for a 2-0 lead.
It was a turnaround from the first half, when Pasco appeared to control the pace with offensive opportunities.
"We came out nervous, I guess, because this is the only team that's beat us this year," Mitchell coach Oscar Ubillus said. "They were scared it was going to happen again. You could tell in their body language. I told them to relax and have fun. … That's what happened in the second half."
Keeper Josh Berres kept the Mustangs in it early making key saves, seven in all. Pasco (8-1-1) came at him from all angles, a two-on-one, a one-on-one and straightaway blast and a header off a corner kick, to name a few.
"The first half, the saves he made kept us from going down a goal or two," Rockwell said. "He played a big part, as did everyone else."
Izzy Gould can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 421-3886.