Masen Mitchell has spent the past two seasons as Chalmette’s starting safety.
An injury to teammate Connor Lambert forced the two-year starter on defense to move to running back three games ago.
He is handling the switch just fine.
Mitchell rushed for 208 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead Chalmette to a convincing 59-20 victory over Helen Cox on Thursday at Hoss Memtsas Stadium.
Not bad for a guy who hasn’t played running back since his days of park ball.
“I just go wherever the team needs me to go,” Mitchell said. “I’m an athlete. Wherever you want to put me, I will try to make plays. It was definitely a big switch.”
Mitchell scored on runs of 43, 4, 4 and 6 yards on his career night.
“He has finally getting the niche of it,” Chalmette coach Jason Tucker said. “He did a good job for us.”
Mitchell had plenty of help.
Teammate Jayvon Lewis finished with 147 yards and three touchdowns.
The Owls racked up 434 yards on the ground.
“That’s what we want to do is control the line of scrimmage,” Tucker said.
Chalmette improved to 2-5 overall and 1-1 in District 8-5A.
It was a much needed win for an Owls team that had been the tough-luck loser in four of its five losses this season.
Four of the five losses were by seven points or less, including three by three points.
They made sure this one wasn’t close, exploding for 28 second half points after falling into an early hole.
“It’s always good to get a win,” Tucker said. “Even with all the close wins, our kids just don’t quit. Our kids could have packed it in, but they believe in everything we are doing and they believe in themselves.”
Helen Cox (1-6, 0-2) lost its fourth consecutive game.
The Cougars looked ready to end that slump early on.
Cox quarterback Dion Ray, who has verbally committed to Louisiana-Lafayette, wasted little time getting started. He connected with Ea’mon Davis on the fifth play of the game and Davis outran the Chalmette defense for a 50-yard score.
On the next play, it was Ray’s 40-yard bomb to Jason Charles that gave the Cougars a 14-0 lead. Charles also had a diving, highlight reel 25-yard reception on third down to extend that drive to make it 14-0.
“We knew we just had to keep fighting,” Mitchell said.
And the Owls did just that, roaring back to score 28 unanswered points.
Mitchell got it started.
On the ensuing possession after falling into the 14-0 hole, Mitchell took a handoff and sprinted down the visitors’ sideline for a 43-yard touchdown run. His 4-yard run on the next drive gave the Owls their first lead (15-14) with 10:49 left in the second quarter.
Lewis scored the next two touchdowns on runs of 19 and 5 yards.
When Ray closed the gap with a 1-yard pass to Jormaine Coleman, Lewis answered with his third touchdown of the half, hauling in an 8-yard pass from Dominic Curole.
Mitchell scored two second half touchdowns and Cory Pierce blocked a punt for a safety. Curole also had a rushing touchdown.
Ray finished 7 of 23 for 170 yards and three touchdown passes for the Cougars, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
“We are a decimated team,” Cougars coach Willie Brooks said. “We had eight starters out with injuries. Not to take anything away from Chalmette, but we aren’t the same team right now. I’m trying to be a miracle worker but with a lot of guys on the sideline it’s hard to overcome that.”
Ray also rushed for 102 yards, but was held on check in the second half.
“He is a special player and we knew he would make some big plays,” Tucker said. “But our defense has played great all year.”