TRINITY — What at first looked like a defensive stalemate between Clearwater and Mitchell quickly turned into a rout.
Clearwater had revenge on its mind Friday night after a 45-28 loss to Mitchell last year during the the regular season. The Tornadoes turned it up a couple notches in the second quarter Friday and on as quarterback Rent Montie threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tornadoes cruised to a 34-7 non-district victory.
"For weeks and weeks, all we've been hearing about is this (Mitchell's) defense that had only allowed seven points in three games," Clearwater coach Don Mesick said. "We take a lot of pride on both sides of the football and we just did what we attempted to do last year."
It seemed like Mitchell's defense would be up to the task of slowing down Clearwater's high-octane offense, led by Montie, as the Mustangs intercepted a pass just four plays into the game. Both teams exchanged plenty of three-and-outs and found moving the ball to be tough.
Mitchell (3-1) broke the scoreless game when quarterback Kym-mani King connected on a 71-yard strike to sophomore Johnny Fairbank with 7:49 left in the second quarter. Clearwater (3-2, 1-0) didn't waste any time answering, with Qwa'shaun Perry (nine carries, 61 yards) barreling in from 2 yards out.
The Tornado defense joined the party and picked off King, and defensive back Keanan Musgrove returned the interception 41 yards to paydirt to give Clearwater a 14-7 lead. Clearwater added a score just before halftime, a 17-yard connection from Montie to wide receiver Marquvion Jeter.
Mesick relied heavily on his run game in the second half, and between Perry and Jeter, both running backs ate much of the clock. The highlight of the half was a 75-yard scoring play when Montie hit Nahjze Smith on a short hitch pattern and the receiver taking it the rest of the way.
Clearwater's defense rose to the occasion, intercepting King three times and holding the Mustangs' rushing attack to 48 yards on 32 touches. Mitchell had only 162 yards of total offense compared to Clearwater's 385.
“That’s a really good football team,” Mitchell coach Andy Schmitz said. “It was two good football teams and one played really well and the other didn’t play well.”