Elijah Mitchell’s 5 TDs Lead Erath Past North Vermilion In District 8-3A Opener
In a game full of big plays, it was the five rushing touchdowns on the legs of Erath Jr. running back Elijah Mitchell that stood out the most. Though the turnovers by North Vermilion may have been the difference in this district contest between two longtime rivals.
Mitchell was phenomenal on Friday night, running through and around Patriots defenders all night long. But, he had some help too as Sr. RB Scott Moore completed the 1-2 punch in Erath's veer attack, picking up big first downs and taking it to the North Vermilion defense all night.
North Vermilion actually got the scoring going early on as they took the opening drive 71 yards to pay dirt as Sr. QB Dade Dieterich's 11-yard TD pass to Jr. Tyler Galley got the Patriots the early 6-0 lead.
But Erath responded with a glimpse of what we would see for most of the night - a physical, grinding yet explosive rushing attack that was capped off by a Mitchell touchdown run. His first TD came from 13 yards out and tied the game at 6 with 6:07 left in the 1st Quarter.
After four turnovers between the two teams - three of which were committed by North Vermilion - Erath was finally able to make them pay as Mitchell scored on a 38-yard touchdown run, then ran in the 2-pt. conversion to give the Bobcats a 14-6 lead as the first quarter came to an end.
But the Patriots would respond as Dylan Dent finished off a lengthy drive by just making it into the end zone on a 4th and inches play just outside the goal line. After Dent was swarmed by the Bobcats defense on the ensuing 2-pt. conversion, Erath still led 14-12 about midway through the 2nd Quarter.
Then Mitchell decided to match Dent with a 4th and inches TD run of his own, scoring from just outside the goal line to make the score 20-12 in favor of the Bobcats as the two teams went into the half.
After a 3rd Quarter which featured Erath's rushing attack dominate the clock and limit North Vermilion to only one drive, Mitchell ran in a 37-yard touchdown to make the score 26-12 in favor of the Bobcats.
But the Patriots weren't going away just yet. Dieterich led them on a 4-minute drive which ended with him tossing a touchdown pass to Sr. TE Alan Rowell, who was running wide open in the middle of the field, to cut the Bobcat lead down to 26-19 with 6:26 left in the 4th Quarter.
After stopping the Bobcats on a 4th down at its own territory, Sr. DE Jaylon Senegal helped to snuff out a Patriots comeback, intercepting Dieterich near midfield. Mitchell then slammed the door shut on North Vermilion, scoring his 5th and final touchdown of the night with 1:42 left to go, making the score 33-19, which ended up being the final.
With the win, Erath moves to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in district play. With the loss, North Vermilion falls to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in district play.
Next week, Erath travels to Berwick in district action while North Vermilion hosts Abbeville in a non-district matchup.