After eight months of on-again, off-again, there’s surely going to be some rust to shake off as teams hit the gridiron after a tumultuous offseason.
Thankfully for Discovery Canyon, the team found its rhythm rather quickly to cruise to a 47-14 season-opening win over Mitchell.
The Marauders capitalized early on some early mistakes by Discovery Canyon, gaining possession after a muffed punt to spark the team’s first scoring drive, capped with a beautiful 38-yard pass from senior quarterback Macy Davenport to Ralph Cushon.
But it didn’t take long for the Thunder to settle in, scoring seven straight touchdowns in the lopsided win. Senior Dylan Ruane opened DCC scoring with a flashy flip over the goal line for a five-yard score, then responded just 30 seconds later with a 45-yard touchdown run.
Ruane had just three touches last year for DCC, but coach Shawn Mitchell said he knew it was only a matter of time that Ruane would break away.
“He is just a hard-nosed tough kid and he was bound to do that in fantastic fashion,” Mitchell said.
Discovery Canyon also earned two pick-6’s from Justin Pruitt and Matthew Bigari, a welcome change for Mitchell, who said he wasn’t necessarily happy with last year’s lack of forced turnovers.
“I do feel like we have some ballhawks out there this year,” Mitchell said.
Pruitt’s second-quarter interception was stunning, pulled down on the eight-yard line to halt a long Mitchell drive, and ran it back 92 yards for the touchdown.
Mitchell was in the red zone at least four times Thursday, but came away with just two touchdowns, which first-year coach Jerimi Calip said is an opportunity for growth.
When Calip took over the Mitchell football program in May, he knew the turnaround wasn’t going to happen overnight. But Thursday the Marauders took a few more steps forward in the program rebuild.
Step one: Gain varsity experience.
Step two: Face everything and rise.
Calip said some of his team’s ‘small victories’ against DCC, which debuted at No. 4 in the Class 3A preseason rankings, will help players get a taste of success, and learn from the mental mistakes.
“I didn’t expect us to be perfect on Week 1, we just need to keep working on getting better,” Calip said. “I believe these guys can win. I see it with the way they work in practice, it’s just a matter of time before it all comes together.”
This season Calip introduced a new mantra to the Michell football program, encouraging his players to ‘face everything and rise,’ which lends itself to multiple meanings.
“I think what is going on in 2020 from a political standpoint, from the racial tension that’s going on, I need them to understand that there’s going to be things that aren’t going to go your way,” Calip said. “Football is just a small part of it, and once they understand, if they ban together, no matter what you look like, you can face everything and rise.”
Davenport said Calip’s leadership this season feels like a "fresh start" for Mitchell, and he hopes to carry it through the season.