Mitchell’s modest demeanor off the field is a stark contrast to the quick and bullish – or “shifty” as he prefers – runner he is under the Friday night lights.
He is the most prolific offensive producer in the county. His numbers speak for themselves – 1,619 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in just nine games.
“Tre’s definitely one of the best backs in AAA,” senior center Skyler Thomason said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about it with all the yards he’s put up. A lot of them he makes on his own. There will be a bit of a hole there that we’ll make for him and he’ll find it and hit it as fast as he can and he’ll bruise his way down for another five or 10 yards.”
Mitchell has started for Chapel Hill since he was a sophomore. But he hasn’t gotten a taste of the postseason since his freshman year in 2009 – the last time the Panthers made the playoffs – when he was mostly watching from the sidelines.
Even coming into this year as the feature-back, he had no idea he would be collecting yards and touchdowns at the rate he has. He gives a lot of the credit for his success to his offensive line and to senior quarterback Brett Roberts.
Roberts has continued to improve the passing game, throwing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns in the Panthers' last three regular-season games.
“Just know that these past three games, it’s been on him,” Mitchell said of his quarterback. “He’s made all the touchdowns starting the game off. It’s not all me.”
Still, other than the one game Mitchell missed with an injury, Roberts has spent the bulk of his time handing off to No. 21.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Roberts said. “If we have to run the ball 100 times a game, we’re going to run the ball."
Roberts’ success of late has made Chapel Hill’s offense more potent, giving Mitchell more room to run when opposing defenses have to worry about stopping the passing game and the run.
And even when Roberts is in a passing situation, Mitchell isn't just standing idle in the backfield.
“He takes blocks for me sometimes,” Roberts said. “I’ll roll out and he’ll 'kill' the person running behind me. He sacrifices his body even though he’s run 30 times in a game.”
Mitchell, Roberts and Thomason plan to leave everything they've got on the field tonight, knowing there won’t be another game in their high school careers if they come up short.
Thomason said he thinks the Panthers have had their best week of practice all year and he’s confident the offensive line will do its job so Mitchell and Roberts can do theirs.
As for Mitchell, his game plan is always the same.
“Every game, I go out to rush for the most yards in the county and the region,” he said. “But [tonight] I just want to gain yards, keep the offense going and just bring out a win.”