GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – John Paul II junior football standout Ethan Mitchell is our newest WITN Pepsi Player of the Week!
Like most inaugural seasons, the John Paul II varsity football program is doing its best to lay down a strong foundation for future teams to come.
Captain and junior quarterback Ethan Mitchell is one of the leaders helping transform the Saints from a school without football, to a school with a great football team.
Building a football program from scratch is no easy task.
"It's been pretty challenging," Mitchell said.
But having Ethan Mitchell on your team can ease that transition.
"He was the only player that we have on varsity that actually played last year," JP2 head coach Sean Murphy said.
That's right. Last year, Mitchell played at nearby South Central but decided to transfer to JP2 to help launch the Saints new football program.
"Ethan is exactly what you're looking for in a captain," added Murphy, who is also the athletics director at JP2. "He has all the leadership qualities. He's a leader on the field. He's a leader off the field. Leads by example. Leads in the classroom. So he is what we're looking for at John Paul II."
The ultra-competitive junior quarterback says he loves to lead by example.
"His work ethic on and off the field really helps with some of our younger guys, which makes a difference in trying to build a program," said Murphy. "He never quits. And that's a quality that we want."
And what Mitchell wants is a chance to attend the Naval Academy and represent his country.
"I've always loved the United State of America," said Mitchell. "The people they have there are some of the best people in the USA, so I have to try to make myself just as good as they are."
"If you watch him on film, every play he gives 100 percent effort," said Murphy. "And that's a really important quality and that's something college coaches look at."
And if given the opportunity, here's what Mitchell's pitch to Navy would sound like: "I work my butt off. I wouldn't make it excuses. If I had to stay up late, I would. I'd go the extra mile. I wouldn't give up."
Mitchell and the Saints are still searching for their first ever conference victory, and they'll have a great chance to register that inaugural Big 8 win this upcoming Friday night at 7 p.m. against winless Rocky Mount Academy.
For more on Mitchell, check out the video above! (Feature airs Tuesday during WITN Sports at 6:20 p.m.)
NOTE: If you have a student-athlete or athlete that you would like to nominate as a WITN Pepsi Player of the Week, please email a bio to Tyler Feldman at email@example.com.