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Just win: Mitchell looks to gain confidence against Douglas

The Mitchell High School football team badly needs a win today when it travels to Douglas High School in Box Elder. The Kernels have dropped two in a row and three of their first four games of the season, dropping out of the top-five in the South...

Mitchell's Kiel Nelson runs the ball during a game against Sioux Falls Washington on Friday, Sept. 14, at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Mitchell's Kiel Nelson runs the ball during a game against Sioux Falls Washington on Friday, Sept. 14, at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The Mitchell High School football team badly needs a win today when it travels to Douglas High School in Box Elder.

The Kernels have dropped two in a row and three of their first four games of the season, dropping out of the top-five in the South Dakota Prep Media football polls after last week's loss to Sioux Falls Washington.

Gaining confidence

Even at 1-3, Mitchell is still in position to climb back into the top half of the Class AA standings with a few wins, particularly with Huron, Harrisburg and Pierre still on the docket.

With the winless Patriots in front of them, it could give the Kernels some confidence and momentum with a tough schedule ahead.

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"There's a big difference in wins and losses with how you function within your households during the weekend and even the school week in front of you," MHS coach Kent VanOverschelde said. "A win for us is going to put a little win in our sails. If we focus on what we do and put the effort in, we can be successful."

Eliminating turnovers

In last season's matchup at Joe Quintal Field, Mitchell bolted out to a 20-0 lead, but two turnovers led to two fourth quarter touchdowns, including a fumble return for a score to give Douglas a chance late.

The Kernels have surrendered two special teams touchdowns, a special teams turnover and a defensive score this season, so one of the focal points in practice this week has been to eliminate the mental mistakes, according to VanOverschelde.

"We're really trying to execute and play as good of football as we can play and to eliminate any type of letdown," he said. "Our adversity is not an excuse to letdown or let up."

Staying grounded

Last season Mitchell ran for 320 yards against Douglas, highlighted by a 36-carry, 144-yard and two-touchdown performance from running back Drew Kitchens. Expect more of the same this time around.

While Kitchens may not get 36 attempts, he'll still see plenty of touches, as will Carson Max and Kiel Nelson, who ran for 105 yards on 12 carries last season against Douglas.

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"I don't like the idea of 36 for Kitch, but maybe in that 24 range and Carson maybe 12 times and Kiel in that ballpark of eight to 12," VanOverschelde said. "That's what we're looking for-to balance out the attack by attacking different aspects of the defense, but also giving it to our playmakers."

Related Topics: KERNELSMITCHELL KERNELS
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