Mitchell junior Dalton Beaver re-defines the word “workhorse.”
But with the Western Highlands Conference program increasing its overall participation numbers dramatically under first-year coach Travise Pitman, the Mountaineers are hoping to keep Beaver fresh for the latter stages of games.
Beaver, who is a junior, has led Mitchell in tackles each of the past two seasons and earned All-Western Highlands Conference honors twice as a result. He made 112 stops in 2013.
Beaver also rushed for 603 yards and five touchdowns last year. He will continue to be a linebacker and running back in a multiple formation Wing-T offense.
“First of all, we feel good about our numbers (35 varsity players),” Pitman said.
“That was a key thing if we’re going to play our best and be competitive. Our kids are excited about what’s going on in the program. Every day, they have a smile on their face. About half of them played as freshmen and sophomores and they’re tired of losing and getting beaten-up. It’s their time.”
Senior Trevan Riddle (88 tackles) was second behind Beaver in tackles a year ago.
Pitman was hoping to start Dray Phillips at quarterback, but the junior’s elbow injury has opened the door for either freshman Ben Young or junior Zach Laws.
Tre Carson (34 receptions for 460 yards and four touchdowns) led last year’s team in receiving yardage as a sophomore. Senior Oscar Cruz (368 rushing yards, 232 receiving yards and seven combined touchdowns) is a multi-dimensional threat.
The Mountaineers open their season at home Friday against West Wilkes.
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