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5 reasons why the Mitchell Mustangs can win the Class 4S, District 6 championship this fall

The Mustangs have won six district titles under Andy Schmitz and are aiming for No. 7 under his watch

TRINITY, FLORIDA- It's a right of passage when you come through the Mitchell Mustangs' football program and to win a district championship. 

From the weekly detailed game plans put together by the coaching staff to always prioritizing the district contests to district championship t-shirts. Winning a district championship is always a big deal in Mustang Land. 

When they didn't win one last season and finished as the third team in Class 4S, District 6, it seemed like somewhat of a let down season for Mitchell. That's how it is when you're spoiled with six district championships in nine seasons under the watch of Andy Schmitz. 

Now coming back with a chip on their shoulder, Mitchell is taking aim at winning a district crown this fall behind a more youthful group than Schmitz is usually used to. We still think the Mustangs have what it takes to navigate through and win this difficult district and we give you five reasons why we think Mitchell can take 4S-6. 

5. Sophomore Power 

Schmitz said there will be a number of sophomores seeing playing time on both sides of the football and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, there's a few seniors coming back that badly want to end their high school careers out with a district title like linebacker Giovannia Ferraro and offensive lineman Nick Mowry. There's a 10th grader movement going on through Mitchell that makes this team one that can be very good the next three years. Players like quarterback Cayden Thomas, wide receiver Bryce Backus and running back/linebacker Corey Simms on this team have Mitchell in contention for a district title now, next year and beyond. 

4. Justin Fenton's aggressive defense 

If you're someone who follows Pasco County football, you know all too well about the longtime defensive coordinator alongside Schmitz at Mitchell. From his high energy at practices to his jumping up and down at games to being pulled back by a special belt buckle by an assistant kinda Sean McVay-style, Fenton is certainly unique. So are his defenses and they're always one of the top units around, especially when it comes to forcing turnovers. The attacking style tends to force plenty of fumbles and interceptions, creating more opportunities for the Mitchell offense. You can usually always count on this group under Fenton to improve as the season moves along. 

3. Cayden Thomas is the real deal at quarterback 

When your sophomore quarterback in his spring football debut goes off for nearly 300 yards of offense, you know you have something special brewing. Since Thomas debuted against Hudson back in May in a 46-34 win, he's been working the camp and 7-on-7 circuit working on his quarterback craft. The ceiling is high on this Class of 2026 signal caller and that's because many around seeing him say so. 

Thomas scored four touchdowns on the ground, two through the air against Hudson, accounting for six total scores. That's against a Cobras team that should and will contend for a district championship themselves in Class 2S. Make sure you remember the name because Thomas is by many accounts a special talent waiting to blossom this fall. 

2. District titles run deep within the program 

We talked about this at the very outset of this piece, but it's true. The right of way through the program is to talk about how you were a part of a district championship-winning group. To come away somehow empty handed is what Schmitz and his staff sees as a letdown. You might look at last year and say 8-4 and a playoff win isn't too shabby. 

At Mitchell, the expectations are to be the leader of the pack in the district and 4S-6 is not an easy one. Returning champion Land O' Lakes is there and can be as good as last year. Springstead played Mitchell tough twice in 2022 and Wiregrass Ranch is a better team all around team. Throw in an up and coming Sunlake team and you've got yourself a district difficult to navigate through. Mitchell knows these waters in and out when it comes to districts like these and thrives in them. 

1. Coaching staff separates them from the pack 

It's becoming somewhat underrated what a pretty good coaching staff can do with not as much talent as the next team. Are we saying Mitchell's cupboard is bare? Of course not. You need talented players to win football games. That's Sports 101. What can be said, though, for almost every Mitchell team is they aren't unequivocally the most athletically gifted team every time they hit the field and still find ways to beat opponents. 

We can give you examples of when this Mitchell team has been out-matched seemingly and they rise to the occasion, but we will just chalk it up to this Mustangs staff is pretty good behind Schmitz and defensive coordinator Justin Fenton. They also have former head coaches on staff like Trey Burdick, Matt Durchik and Robbie Mahler. It's a well-rounded staff over in Trinity that can lead them to another district title. 

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