OXFORD — Miguel Mitchell proved just how much of a team player he is in Oxford’s 35-10 win over rival Pell City at Lamar Field on Friday night.
With the Yellow Jackets’ ailing at the running back position, Mitchell — a Vanderbilt commit who normally plays defensive back and wide receiver — volunteered his services to head coach Sam Adams early in the week.
Adams said he wasn’t sure if Mitchell had “ever played running back in his life,” but the first-year head coach gave the senior a shot, and he came through in a big way, sealing the Yellow Jackets’ victory with a 52-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
“He knew the situation we were in this week, and on Monday he came to me, and he said, ‘Coach, can I play running back? I know the team needs me there.’ I think that says volumes about the kind of person that Miguel Mitchell is that he would do something completely out of his comfort zone, knowing that that’s what the team needed from him at that moment.
“Just to see him pop a big run to pretty much seal the game, you know, I think was awesome.”
Playing sparingly on offense, Mitchell finished the game with seven carries for 74 yards.
When Mitchell wasn’t in the backfield, the Yellow Jackets rode freshman Damious Wilson.
Wilson led the team with 138 rushing yards on 13 carries before leaving the game with an ankle injury. His 32-yard touchdown with 5:31 to play in the third quarter allowed Oxford to regain the momentum after Pell City cut its deficit to 7-3 on Saylor Richard’s 23-yard field goal.
“We’ve had several injuries at the running back spot. Last week, we had three backs out of the game for different reasons, and Damious Wilson, as a freshman, really stepped up into that role,” Adams said. “He hasn’t even been practicing with us the entire season. He’s kind of stepped up. He’s been with us three games now, and you see him get better and better each game, more comfortable each game.
“The sky’s the limit for that guy.”
What to know
—Oxford quarterback Sam Robertson accounted for two touchdowns on the night. Robertson threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaden Dobbins on the Yellow Jackets’ first drive of the game and later scored on a 10-yard run. He completed 9 of 15 passes for 63 yards and had five carries for 30 yards.
—Nick Merriweather carried the ball six times for 52 yards on Oxford’s final drive, which ended in a 3-yard Merriweather touchdown run.
—Oxford kicker Rey Barrera made all five on his extra-point attempts. Shay’nadd Whitfield had a sack on defense and recovered an onside kick.
—Pell City quarterback Baylor Smith completed 11 passes for 142 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown strike to Caleb Groce. Colin Smith hauled in a 48-yard reception from Baylor Smith that set up Richard’s field goal.
—Adams on starting five freshmen and an eighth grader: “We have a whole bunch of guys out there that are fighting their tails off, as well, to go with 11 seniors that are continuing to go out and lay it out on the line, you know, even though a lot of young guys are out there with them.”
—Oxford (3-2, 2-1 Class 6A, Region 7) travels to Class 7A Gadsden City next week for a non-region matchup. Pell City (1-3, 0-2) travels to Calera.