TRINITY — Mitchell continued its postseason success Friday night, winning its third playoff game in four years, this one against Loxahatchee Seminole Ridge. The Mustangs fired on all cylinders as a team, finishing with 369 yards of total offense in the Class 7A, Region 3 quarterfinal and winning 33-7.
Things started off quickly for Mitchell (10-1), which scored on a blocked punt by junior Dimitri Edmond in the first quarter and followed up shortly with a 45-yard throw from junior quarterback Ezra Brennan to senior receiver Rob Graham to make the lead 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Brennan completed 11 of 18 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns to Graham and junior Jonathan Fairbank, who led the team with four catches. Brennan also kept it himself on the ground in the second quarter for a 13-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 20-0.
“We always set a goal of going further than we’ve gone before,” Mitchell coach Andrew Schmitz said. “Now that we’ve won a playoff game, the goal is to win two. That’s been our goal since January.”
The Mustangs were able to control the tempo of the running game with 39 attempts between senior Tyler Williams (99 yards) and sophomore Andy Treto (97 yards), bending the Seminole Ridge defense to their will.
Williams has made the playoffs all four years he has played at Mitchell, but has never won more than one playoff game in a season. “I’m trying to do big things and reach that point that none of our guys have gotten to,” he said.
Seminole Ridge (6-4) struggled mightily in the passing game, only completing 1 of 11 attempts, but did rush for 223 yards. Junior Brandon Schabert finished with two touchdowns and led the team in rushing with 81 yards. Senior Israel Rosiles added 71 yards of his own as the main rushing option for the Hawks. More than 100 of those yards came on chunk gains on their two last offensive possessions while trailing by 26 points in the fourth quarter, however.
Seminole Ridge coach Rick Casco is only in his second year at the helm of the Hawks, but he’s happy with the progress his team has made. “This is my first real group of seniors, and these guys played hard all year long,” he said. “It’s a stepping stone for the next group.”
Mitchell will host Bradenton Manatee next week after the Hurricanes defeated Pinellas Park 35-7.
Region football semifinals
All games 7:30 p.m. next Friday.
Class 2A, Region 3
• No. 3 Seffner Christian at No. 2 Northside Christian
• No. 4 Admiral Farragut at No. 1 Cambridge Christian
Class 3A, Region 3
• No. 5 Clearwater Central Catholic at No. 1 Berkeley Prep
Class 4A, Region 3
• No. 4 Clewiston at No. 1 Lakewood
• No. 3 Tampa Catholic at No. 2 Delray Beach American Heritage
Class 5A, Region 3
• No. 8 Chamberlain at No. 4 Jesuit
Class 5A, Region 2
• No. 4 Nature Coast at No. 1 Orlando Jones
Class 6A, Region 2
• No. 5 Clearwater at No. 1 Gaither
• No. 3 Lake Minneola at No. 2 Largo
Class 7A, Region 3
• No. 3 Manatee at No. 2 Mitchell
Class 7A, Region 2
• No. 5 Bloomingdale at No. 1 Armwood
• No. 6 Tampa Bay Tech at No. 2 Lakeland
Class 8A, Region 2
• No. 4 Steinbrenner at No. 1 Sarasota Riverview