When you see a football player listed as a two-way starter at quarterback and a defensive position, the tendency is to think the emphasis will be at quarterback.
In the case of Shiloh Christian sophomore Jaden Mitzel, however, the coaching staff gets plenty of offense and defense. The 6-foot, 190-pound Mitzel threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and got in on 14 tackles on Saturday.
Needless to say, Shiloh emerged with a victory in the first round of the state nine-man football playoffs. The final score on a windy, chilly, gray day at Miller Field was 50-16.
The victory moves Shiloh into the round of 16. The Skyhawks play host to St. John next Saturday. Kickoff time is 2 p.m. at Miller Field.
Shiloh controlled the line of scrimmage all afternoon, and the result was a 319-185 advantage in total offense. Surrey didn't score until the final seven minutes against the second-team Skyhawk defense.
Shiloh took a 38-0 halftime lead, which resulted in the application of the running clock mercy rule for the entire second half.
Mitzel said he doesn't think of himself as primarily a quarterback or linebacker. He just wants to play.
"I just trust the coaches to do what allows the team to do the best," Mitzel said.
He said his busy day on offense was a product of reading the keys.
"I just read their guards and went where I was supposed to go to fill in the gaps," he said.
Mitzel said he's not much of a stats guy.
"That doesn't matter when we get the 'W'," he said.
For Surrey, the game began as one of those terrible, no-good, awful, very-bad days.
The Mustangs received the ball to start the game, lost four yards and punted into the wind.
Shiloh took possession on the Surrey 32 and scored in three plays, Mitzel throwing to tight end Jonas Mitzel from 20 yards out for the score.
Surrey lost seven yards in its second series and punted again. The snap to punter Ryder Holien was high, enabling Evan Baker to block the kick.
Shiloh recovered the ball on the Surrey one-yard line, and on the next snap of the ball Jaden Mitzel scored on a quarterback sneak.
Surrey had run six offensive plays and found itself in a 16-0 hole.
Shiloh never let up. The Skyhawks scored touchdowns on five of its seven first-half offensive possessions, punting once and finishing the second quarter with the ball on its own 38.
Surrey lost the ball on downs at its own 33, setting up the third Skyhawk score, another Mitzel-to-Mitzel TD pass from seven yards out.
Shiloh marched 75 and 86 yards in the second period to take a 38-0 halftime lead. Trey Brunelle darted 62 yards and Canaan Fagerland burst up the middle from 35 yards out to close out Shiloh's first-half scoring.
Fagerland ran 41 yards for a touchdown and Carter Strand scored standing up from a yard out to give the Skyhawks a 50-0 lead in the third period.
At that point, Shiloh coach Funnon Barker began substituting liberally.
Surrey finally broke through with 6:39 to play, Holien capping a 79-yard drive with a 27-yard scoring pass to Cody Fuchs. Dalton Klein scored on a two-yard run with 1:53 to play as the Mustangs capitalized on good field position after a short Shiloh punt into the wind.
Fagerland, a speedy 5-foot-8, 185-pound junior, had a productive day at running back, amassing 141 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. His sidekick Brunelle carved out 70 yards and a score on five carries.
All told, eight different Shiloh ball carriers contributed to 252 yards on 31 attempts. Shiloh's defense limited Surrey ball carriers to 119 yards on 40 tries.
Fagerland said Saturday's performance was a good way to wash away a regular season-ending loss to New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin. And he said he could see a seven-touchdown game coming.
"When we came back to practice we got the momentum going again, and a game like this definitely boosts our energy level," he said. "... With the way we practiced this week and the way the line blocked today I knew that was possible for sure."
Barker said he was encouraged by the fire with which his team played.
"Last week left a sour taste in our mouth, so it was nice to see our guys come out and play physical football and come out on top," Barker said.
"I was really happy with the way our front played on both sides of the ball," he added. "The team that dominates the line of scrimmage usually comes out on top.