Sunday, November 18, 2012
Steven Mitchell ready for the next step
By Blair Angulo
SANTA ANA, Calif. -- As the final seconds of his high school football career ticked off the clock, Steven Mitchell inched closer to the sideline, taking short steps away from the rest of his teammates. He stared at the turf, searching for answers following a late-game collapse that cost Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany a spot in the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division semifinals.
More than anything, Mitchell was in shock. The USC receiver commit believed Alemany had done enough to win. They had battled back to take an 11-point lead on Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei in the fourth quarter before falling 53-42 on Friday night at the Santa Ana Bowl.
Mitchell stood alone as the last horn sounded -- the nearest teammate some 15 yards away.
“I thought we had a chance,” Mitchell said, “but we just didn’t succeed.”
The same wasn’t true for Mitchell’s high school career, which was filled with accolades and achievements. Friday night was just another example of the impact he can have on games.
After a bittersweet ending to his high school football career, Steven Mitchell says he is ready for the next step.
The four-star receiver amassed 236 total yards and had touchdowns of 92 yards on a kickoff return and 63 yards on a seemingly harmless slant pattern. Mitchell displayed his world-class speed on both scores, prompting Bruce Rollinson, Mater Dei's coach for 24 seasons, to seek him out after the game. Rollinson approached Mitchell and extended his right hand for a handshake.
“We came in here and fought hard,” Mitchell said. “We came up short in the end. Throughout the whole week we practiced hard and thought we were prepared for [Mater Dei]. They’re an excellent team. They were very hungry. I give them props for that.”
Now Mitchell has his sights set on upcoming training sessions in preparation for the U.S. Army All-American Game, which will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio the first week of January. He is one of 12 USC commits to earn a selection to the prestigious game.
“I’m excited for that,” he said. “I get to play against the top players. And then it’s off to USC.”
In the meantime, Mitchell will focus on academics and might compete for Alemany's track and field squad. To build on his football skills, he intends to do only two events this spring: long jump and 100-meter dash.
Walking off the field at the Santa Ana Bowl was a bittersweet moment, Mitchell said. High school football ended, but a new chapter in his journey is next.
“I’m super excited,” Mitchell said. “I have a great connection with all the [commits]. Me and the [USC] coaches talk every week. We actually talked [Thursday] night and I told them I was going to come out here, play hard and I did. I really can’t wait until I get there.”
Alemany, which finished 9-3 and won a share of the Serra League championship, should remain competitive despite the departures of Mitchell and Colorado cornerback commit Devin Ross, who had 60 receiving yards and a touchdown Friday. Class of 2014 linebacker Quentin Tartabull and Class of 2015 receiver Desean Holmes and defensive back Brandon Pierce are expected to step into larger roles. Holmes, who already has offers from Houston, UCLA and Utah, had 86 receiving yards and a touchdown.
“Alemany was a great, great school,” Mitchell said. “My four years here we played hard. We came up short but hopefully next year our young guys can come out with a victory and go all the way. I had a great time at Alemany.”