(Chris Pitman talks about Mountaineer Football)
In the spring of 2014, Travise Pitman was named the tenth head football coach of Mitchell High School’s football program. Similar to his predecessor; Russell Barnett, Pitman is a former Mountaineer player. From high school, he went on to start at tight end in his junior and senior years at Western Carolina. Once his college career came to a close, he returned to Mitchell High School where he has worked for former coaches Tom Merritt, Charlie Snyder, and Russell Barnett.
Once named the head coach, Pitman began implementing his system of offense and defense. He made significant changes to both the offense and defense. In addition to those changes, he revamped much of what the Mountaineers had been doing in years past in the off season weight training and conditioning parts of the program. At the same time, he honored and continues to honor the past pride and history of Mountaineer football.
He began his head coaching career with a big win over West Wilkes and from there things have went very well for the Mountaineer football program. In 2014, he guided the Mountaineers to an overall record of 8 - 4. His first team won their first round play-off game and advanced to the second round where they lost to Whiteville. During the course of the season, the Mountaineers collected a nice win over Mountain Heritage and added wins over Madison and Avery to close out the regular season. In 2014 the Mountaineers were a junior laden team. Leading Coach Pitman’s first team were seniors Cole Phillips, Dillon Hoyle, and Zack Pressley.
2015 was one of those years that Mountaineer fans were eager to get started. The seniors that comprised the team had already played two years of varsity football. Along the way, they had paid their dues and learned many lesson and grown tremendously as football players. Many of which would pay great dividends as the season unfolded. Once again, the Mountaineers got on the winning track with a win in their first game of the year. From there they reeled off eight wins until an untimely loss against Mountain Heritage. At the end of the regular season the Mountaineers had an overall record of 10 - 1 and tied for the conference championship. They entered the play-offs with a top four seed and had the luxury of playing three of their first four play-off games at home on the way to their first ever appearance in the state championship game. For the second year in a row there were several memorable games along the way, too many to mention now. But, what a great year 2015 turned out to be by the end of the year. Again in 2015 there were several key performers that led the Mountaineers to the best year of football in the history of Mitchell High School. The list is long and includes Peyton Greene, Solomon Duncan, Cy Thomas, Dalton Beaver, Tre Carson, Jamison Burleson, Will Atkins, ALex Parker, JadeOsbon, and Jake Robinson.
A looming question entering the 2016 season was much the same as those same questions entering 2012. With so many seniors gone from the previous year, what would the Mountaineers do to get themselves back to the level as the previous year? To the credit of Coach Pitman, he had a plan and program in place to continue to produce good young men with talent that could come in and play right away. The 2016 team got down to business early and got on track with a win in week one for the third year in a row. Those new faces on the 2016 squad picked up where the 2015 team left off. Coach Pitman has assembled a great coaching staff that understands his system and they are great at teaching the young men those skills that they need to be successful. Again in 2016 there were new memories made along the way to a thirteen win season and another tie for the conference championship. Key performers that continued to lead the Mountaineers successful winning ways were Alex McKinney, Todd Self, and Jacob Yelton.
At this point, we have covered every Mountaineer football team that has taken the field and listed many of the key performers that have led their respective teams. They have all been nominated by someone to get their names mentioned. The time to continue to nominate continues. I continue to encourage readers and listeners to e-mail their nominations to either; firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The 2017 season is straight ahead and in full sight. As it nears, we will be talking more about the release of those men that makes the ‘Hall of Fame’ ‘Teams of the Decades’. They will be initially be announced at an early home game later on this year. And, the 2017 Mountaineers are beginning to do a little work in preparation for the upcoming season.
Next week, I plan to take some time to take a look and highlight the Mountaineers winter sports programs including boys and girls basketball and wrestling.