2017 WCIA 3 Football Player of the Year: Mitch McNutt

GCMS senior running back led Falcons to school's first state title

GIBSON CITY (WCIA) -- Mitch McNutt was part of the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley football program long before he ever put on a jersey.

"I remember going to practices with my dad," McNutt said. "One time I got ran over by Jimmy Jones on the sideline. I was always kind of scared because they were so big and everything."

"His dad has been on staff since '04," GCMS head coach Mike Allen said. "We're very good friends so I get to see Mitchell outside of football also."

The McNutt name is a familiar one to the area and on the field Mitch brings back memories to some of the older generation.

"It doesn't just start with Mitchell," Allen added. "His dad was a good athlete, his uncle, and then his grandpa. I've had guys come up to me that played back then and said, 'He reminds me a lot of his grandpa Curly' so that's pretty neat."

If McNutt was having a bad game, he didn't have to go far to find motivation. His dad was right there on the sideline with him and knew how to get his son's head back in the game.

"Usually if I'm not playing well, like West Carroll, he'll tell me that I'm not running very good and it kind of just ticks me off," McNutt said about his dad. "In the championship game, those late hits, especially the one before half. They took my helmet off but that gets me mad, that gets our whole team mad, just extra motivation."

But that didn't happen often.

McNutt scored 32 touchdowns while running for 1689 yards on 192 carries this season. Exactly one third of those carries though were in the final two games of the year.
    
"We rode him pretty hard, 64 carries in two games, the semifinals and finals," Allen said. "That was because he didn't play four quarters and he was still, his body was fresh. We looked at it as, a regular season is nine games, he's only put four and a half games in."

GCMS blew out opponents all year, winning regular season games by an average of 42 points. Therefore, McNutt only carried the ball 15 times in the second half of regular season games.

"After the championship game, it would have been hard to play another game I feel like, especially for me and Jared (Trantina)," McNutt said. "Your body is just so sore after each game."

Now he's got plenty of time to rest up before college. McNutt holds a preferred walk-on offer from SIU-Carbondale and an offer from Valparaiso. The 2017 WCIA 3 Football Player of the Year is hoping to hear from more schools before he decides where to continue his career at the next level.


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