Mitchell looking to platoon at quarterback for 2021

TRINITY – The contrast of styles will be stark when comparing this year’s Mitchell Mustangs to the 2020 team that nearly reached the Class 7A state final four.

The Mustangs got all the way to the region final before being edged by state finalist Orlando Edgewater. That team had players that will go down as some of the best in program history, including Maguire Anderson, Jonathan Fairbank and Ezra Brennan.

The latter of that bunch was standing in street clothes in Mitchell’s preseason jamboree that took part against Boca Ciega and Gulf this past Friday. He was able to see how the Mustangs will look this season. And instead of the traditional one signal caller, Mitchell appears to be starting the year with a two-quarterback system.

Replacing Brennan isn’t going to be an easy task for Mitchell head coach Andy Schmitz, as he entered the offseason with incumbent Chris Ferrini and former River Ridge quarterback Ethan Rice. Instead of selecting between the two, preseason action showed that the Mustangs could insert either one at any given moment.

“They’re both very versatile kids,” Schmitz said about Rice and Ferrini. “It allows us to be really versatile and allows us to play a lot of guys at a lot of different positions.”

Rice, more of the thrower, has good scrambling abilities but can also make good throws in the pocket and on the run. Ferrini has shown more of the ability to run through and around would-be tacklers.

A quarterback platoon is something the program hasn’t tried since 2003, when the team bounced back and forth between Spencer Brown and Chris Watts.

The emphasis on both quarterbacks being able to run and get yards is increased because of the team’s uncertainties at running back. Last year’s leading rusher, Andrew Treto, did not return to play for Mitchell this season and now the Mustangs will have a number of different players touching the rock. Among those expected to line up in the backfield are Jack Sutherlin, Noah St. Aubin and Nick Wolfgang.

“I think it’s fun because it keeps all the kids motivated, excited and into what’s going on,” Schmitz said. “All of them did some really good things.”

Players to watch

QB, Ethan Rice 

QB, Chris Ferrini

RB, Jack Sutherlin 

RB, Noah St. Aubin

DE, Tyler Geary

DE, Jacob Beegle

WR/CB, Robbie Mirabile

K/P, Matthew Harkness

Head coach: Andy Schmitz, 8th season, 63-18 record overall 

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.