E.A. Sports Today

Mixon back to playing like ‘myself’

Wellborn senior back has rushed for 600 yards, scored 11 TDs the last 3 weeks

Wellborn running back Kevin Mixon tries to escape from a Saks defender in the season opener. (Photo by Greg McWilliams)

Wellborn running back Kevin Mixon tries to escape from a Saks defender in the season opener. (Photo by Greg McWilliams)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Kevin Mixon is the kind of runner who once he puts his mind to making a play, he usually makes a play. Wellborn coach Jeff Smith has seen it too many times for it to be a coincidence.

When Mixon was an eighth grader, Smith watched the determined running back drag the entire Sylacauga defense into the end zone to score a touchdown. In a jamboree game against Ashville, Mixon broke off a long touchdown run only to have it called back for a penalty and then broke it off again on the very next snap.

“When he makes up his mind he’s going to make a play, he makes a play,” Smith said. “He’s got that ability and he’s had that since the seventh grade. When he decides ‘I’m fixin’ to do it,’ he can do it. It’s amazing.

“It’s a mental state of mind he can get himself in and, boy, he can do some good things with it. When he decides it, it’s on, and he’s as good as anybody you could ever put him against.”

Mixon is getting in that state of mind again and it’s just in time for — or perhaps the driving force of — the Panthers taking off on their anticipated run to the playoffs.

It’s all a matter of running with the belief that no one will bring him down.

Mixon had gotten off to a slow start against two of the toughest teams on Wellborn’s schedule, but after a little soul searching following an early ejection against Glencoe has quickly returned to the form Panthers fans — and Smith — have come to expect.

Over the last three weeks he has rushed for more than 600 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. Last week against Class 5A Moody, he ran for 297 yards on 22 carries, caught two passes for 50 more yards and scored five touchdowns. The week before he ran for nearly 200 yards on Weaver and brought a punt all the way back among his three touchdowns.

“The first couple games I really wasn’t playing like myself,” Mixon said. “I really was just worried about everything else going on around me instead of just focusing on football and getting myself better.

“But I realized after the second game that it’s my senior year and I’ve really got to give it my all every play — just play every play like it’s my last because I never know when my last chance will be.”

Once that last high school play comes, Mixon is hoping to live a dream of playing college football. He currently has interest from Shorter, West Alabama, North Alabama, Illinois State and Mount St. Joseph, but he’s keeping his options open hoping to avoid making a quick decision he may come to regret.

Until that day comes, he’ll be trying to help the Panthers grab a high finish in their region and make a deep run in the playoffs.

They take a three-game winning streak into Friday night’s first-ever regular-season meeting with Westbrook Christian. Both teams are 2-1 in 3A Region 6, locked in a three-way tie with Piedmont for second place. Both have lost to region-leading Glencoe and both have yet to play Piedmont.

“We’re steadily getting better and have to continue this week,” Smith said. “We did this last year. We played Fyffe in the fifth game and they beat us pretty good … but we came back and got on a roll and played them in the playoffs in a whole different ballgame than the first one.

“From that game on we showed progress last year. Well, it’s happened this year after the second ballgame instead of the fifth. We’re building and you can feel it. I feel good about our team right now.”

Saks' defense tries to keep Wellborn's Kevin Mixon from getting into the end zone. (Photo by Greg McWilliams)

Saks’ defense tries to keep Wellborn’s Kevin Mixon from getting into the end zone. (Photo by Greg McWilliams)

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