After Friday night, the breakout performance of the season might belong to Mason Mittasch.
The junior has been a pleasant addition to the Cardinals’ rushing attack in 2021, averaging about 96.8 yards per game. Against Jay, Mittasch rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns, helping Verdigris improve to 4-0 with a 40-12 victory in its District 3A-4 opener, but his contributions didn’t end there.
Mittasch also snagged an interception and collected two tackles on defense as part of an effort that held the Bulldogs to 239 yards on 65 plays (3.7 yards per snap) and forced two turnovers. The other takeaway was a Jimmy Weilert fumble recovery.
His longest run was a 40-yarder in which he broke a tackle at the line-of-scrimmage and proceeded to sprint his way to inside the Jay 10-yard line.
Caden Parnell impressed as well, rushing for 166 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries while also completing 2 of 3 passes for 47 yards in a rare appearance at quarterback. Starting quarterback Dylan White went 6-of-6 for 42 yards.
Parnell’s 75-yard touchdown was perhaps the play of the game, for he stiff-armed a defender and bulldozed another before spinning out of a tackle attempt and cutting back toward the middle of the field on his way to the end zone.
Jay (1-3, 0-1 3A-4) trimmed the Cardinals’ lead to 26-6 in the third quarter, but Isiak Layton returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
Verdigris faces its toughest test of the season this Friday night when it travels to No. 10 Berryhill. The Chiefs are 3-1 and are fresh off a 48-7 thumping of previously undefeated Inola.
The Cardinals have won three straight in the series, including two last season. In the most recent meeting, Berryhill led Verdigris until Evan Anderson snagged a 36-yard pick-six at the 1:32 mark of the fourth quarter in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
The winner of this matchup will put itself in prime position to host a first-round playoff game.