This story is part of a series recognizing the top high school athletes in Barren County for the 2018-19 school year as chosen by the Glasgow Daily Times.
GLASGOW — Nick Mitchell was one of the top running backs in the state last season, rushing for over 2,000 yards while gashing defenses for 30 touchdowns on the ground as a junior for Glasgow High School.
His bruising running style earned him the respect of his teammates, coaches and opponents, and Mitchell's success on the field has garnered him the 2018-19 South Central Kentucky Orthopaedics' Football Athlete of the Year recognition as selected by the Glasgow Daily Times.
Mitchell thanked the team, and specifically the offensive line, for helping him rack up so many rushing yards during the 2018 season.
"Without them, I wouldn't be able to do what I do," Mitchell said. "I credit most of my yards to them."
But Mitchell has a knack for getting yards on his own right, as multiple defenders are regularly required to bring the running back to the ground. Mitchell welcomes the physicality of football.
"I'm never the one to be scared of contact. If we have shoulder pads on, it's just me and you," Mitchell said.
Mitchell ran for 2,071 yards in 13 games in 2018, averaging 159.3 yards rushing per game. He was second in Class 2A in rushing yardage and 10th in the entire state.
"He's just a load. He's a tough guy to tackle and his game has just improved every year and we're looking for a big senior season from him," Glasgow coach Jeff Garmon said of Mitchell.
"Nick's quiet. As far as football goes, he's a hard worker, and he has a good feel for the game. He understands what he needs to do and gets it done."
The Scotties won a district title and advanced to the third round of the playoffs last season before falling on the road to Walton-Verona.
"Our season was fun. We worked hard in practice every single day. Coach Garmon pushed us." Mitchell said.
Mitchell ran for 123 yards against Walton-Verona, which pushed him past the 2,000-yard mark for the season.
To begin 2018, Mitchell's goal was to rush for 1,000 yards. He eclipsed that mark in six games.
In week four against Allen County-Scottsville, Mitchell ran for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He backed that performance up a week later by rushing for 226 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Warren East.
Mitchell's favorite game of 2018 was a road win over Elizabethtown on Oct. 26. Glasgow beat a solid Panther team 35-34, and Mitchell ran for 246 yards on 39 attempts.
But the win was special for Mitchell because it marked the first time Glasgow had defeated Elizabethtown since 2013.
"Since I've been in high school, they've always beaten us," Mitchell said. "Coach Garmon told us in the locker room we have to prove ourselves because they've beaten us all these years in a row."
As Glasgow prepares to move up to Class 3A in 2019, Garmon said he'd like to see Mitchell used more as a receiver out of the backfield when he's not running the ball.
And that's fine by Mitchell. After all, his favorite player is Atlanta Falcons' star wide receiver Julio Jones.
When he's not playing football, which he said his mother encouraged him to try when he was a kid, Mitchell enjoys grabbing a bite to eat with his family, hanging out with his friends and playing video games. Madden NFL is his favorite video game.
Mitchell hopes to play college football one day, but has his mind set on the 2019 season and helping the Scotties make it to Lexington.
"That's always been on our minds — a state championship," he said.
When he was in middle school and eying an opportunity to play for the Scotties as a high schooler, Mitchell looked up to older Scotties like star running back Marquez Trigg. When asked what advice Mitchell would give to younger players, he said they must remain focused on their goals.
"There are going to be people who will be happy for you, and there will be people who will want to see you fail," he said. "Keep your head straight no matter what. Once you put your mind to something, you can do it."