Mitchell carries South Pittsburg to Class 1A championship game - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mitchell carries South Pittsburg to Class 1A championship game

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COALFIELD, Tenn. (WRCB) -- Kahlil Mitchell refused to let Friday's state semifinal game be the last one of his high school career.

The South Pittsburg senior running back racked up 283 yards and scored five touchdowns in leading the Pirates to the Class 1A state championship game for the fifth time in the last seven years with a 43-22 rout of host Coalfield.

Known more for his power, Mitchell flashed his speed several times on scoring jaunts of 38, 48, 42 and 33 while also adding a physical one-yard plunge among his 17 rushes.

"I knew our line could control them on the first level and if I could get to the second level, they couldn't tackle me," Mitchell said. "I just tried to capitalize on that and get to the second level every time I touched the ball.

"It's my senior year and I knew it could be my last game. But that wasn't going to happen. We're going to get that gold."

South Pittsburg's Mr. Football finalist Jajuan Lankford also had a big night, though it paled in comparison to Mitchell's. The Pirates' other senior star finished with 121 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.

The two teams traded touchdowns on their opening drives, though Coalfield missed it's PAT and trailed 7-6. After South Pittsburg fumbled inside the Coalfield 5-yard line on its next drive, Mitchell got on track with back-to-back touchdown runs for a 21-6 lead at the half.

Mitchell scored again before Coalfield found the end zone for a second time, and the lead grew as large as 43-14 before the Yellow Jackets' closed the night with a late score.

The game got extremely chippy down the stretch, with several personal foul penalties called in the final period. Three players were also ejected when a fight broke out in the closing minutes, including South Pittsburg senior lineman Kyan Mitchell.

"It was a good win. The guys played hard and did what we wanted to do here tonight, but there were too many penalties," said head coach Tim Moore. "We have to cut that out next week, but tempers just got to flaring. Sometimes that will happen in a hotly-contested game.

"Hopefully we'll be better next week of keeping our composure and not getting involved in those things."

As a result, Moore advised his team not to go through post-game handshakes at midfield with Coalfield in hopes of avoiding further problems.

"Coach Moore said he couldn't take a chance on shaking hands," Coalfield coach Keith Henry said told the Knoxville News Sentinel. "He was afraid something might happen, and I'm sorry for that.

The Pirates advance to see a familiar face in the Class 1A state final at Tennessee Tech's Tucker Stadium next Friday afternoon. South Pittsburg will face Union City, which scored with 6.7 seconds left to beat the Pirates 31-29 in the 2009 championship game.

Union City beat Nashville Christian 43-36 in the other state semifinal.

Click here for coverage of Cleveland's state semifinal loss at Knoxville West.

Click here for coverage of Ringgold's state quarterfinal win over Central-Carroll.

Click here for the full list of scores from Week 14 of Friday Night Football.

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