Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dickinson's Mitchell Does More Than Break Records

Mitchell doing more than breaking records
Dickinson signal caller helps to fight cancer one yard at a time ... while winning.

By Andy Sandrik, Sentinel Reporter

Last updated: Friday, October 16, 2009 10:26 PM EDT

When all is said and done in the football career of Dickinson College quarterback Ian Mitchell, he will go down as the most productive quarterback in the history of the Division III school.

The numbers don’t lie, Mitchell is a really, really good quarterback. Career accomplishments include:

* 2,214 career rushing yards. That’s the most-ever in Dickinson and Centennial Conference history.
* A Centennial Conference record of 11 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season. That record was established this season and there are still at least four games remaining. The career record is 27 touchdowns — Mitchell has 24.
* Mitchell is the first Centennial Conference quarterback to rush for 2,000-plus yards and pass for 4,000-plus yards.

“My teammate Mike Maxwell says that I’m a running back that can throw the ball,” Mitchell said with a laugh. “Whenever I started setting some of these records, coach (Darwin) Breaux told me congratulations and that he was extremely proud of me. And then he told me that if I want this to continue, I need to focus on the team and the individual records will come on their own.”

With every yard gained by Mitchell, he comes that much closer to even more individual records. But college football isn’t all about personal glory for Mitchell, who was recruited by schools such as Richmond, James Madison, Lehigh, Lafayette and even given an opportunity to walk on at Florida.

After losing a high school friend, Evan Brady, to cancer, Mitchell has made it a mission to help support cancer victims.

With every yard Mitchell gains, on the ground or through the air, another cancer-stricken child can smile.

By getting people and businesses to pledge money for each yard gained, Mitchell has raised roughly $60,000 for Evanfest, a charity created in Brady’s honor to raise money for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Mitchell has raised this money in three years by doing nothing but wisely marketing himself and playing the game he loves.

“I’ve gotten lucky, this has spread through word of mouth and the media,” Mitchell said.

Those around Biddle Field last year for a Dickinson football game may have noticed Mitchell’s long, blond hair spilling out the back of his helmet. That, too, has been donated to charity. He had his hair donated to ‘Locks for Love.’

“I was told that an 8-year-old girl now has beautiful, blonde hair,” Mitchell said.

Beautiful blonde hair and charity aside, Mitchell is a great football player on a team contending for a conference title.

The Red Devils are 5-1 after last Saturday’s 23-12 loss to the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays.

“We played a good team on Saturday,” Breaux said. “They were as good a team as we’ve faced all year. Field goals didn’t get the job done, we need to put the ball in the end zone.”

All hope is not lost for the Red Devils. They have a bye week this Saturday and follow with games against Gettysburg (2-4), Muhlenberg (2-3), Juniata (0-6) and Ursinus (2-3).

If the Red Devils can run the table, they could earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Division III playoffs and may even have a chance at winning the Centennial Conference.

“This is a perfect time for a bye week,” Mitchell said. “After a loss, you feel a little bit more sore than usual and it takes a little longer to get past the game. Having this extra week is very crucial.”

With the next four opponents sporting a combined record of 6-16, winning out is a reasonable goal, especially if Mitchell and the offense can get back to their touchdown-scoring ways.

Before last week’s game, the Red Devils were averaging 35.8 points per game to rank second in the Centennial Conference. Mitchell has led the way with another exciting season. Mitchell has led the team with his arm (83-of-138, 952 yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs) and his legs (85 rushes, 655 yards, 11 TDs, 7.7 avg.).

Of course, Mitchell will be the first person to point out his teammates.

“Our core group has been together for a long time, we all know each other’s moves,” Mitchell said.

“There’s nothing like having an All-American receiver in Pat O’Connor. With a player like that and a quarterback that can run and some good running backs. There is so much that the defense has to focus on. The line doesn’t get much recognition, but I’d like to say that the offensive line holds those same records that I have.”

One thing’s for sure, things wouldn’t be the same without Mitchell.

“He’s one of the most athletic kids we’ve recruited and the most athletic quarterback we’ve had,” Breaux said. “It’s a team effort, but there’s no question, Ian is the trigger man.”

Already a noted philanthropist and an elite football player, the Religion Major plans on becoming a grad assistant for Dickinson after this season.

“I’ve realized that my future is not in the NFL,” Mitchell said. “If I have to stop playing football after this year, coaching football is probably the next best thing.”

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