A year ago, not many would have predicted Trey Drury would be Mitchell's starting quarterback. Two weeks into the 2012 season, few could imagine a better fit.
It was just a year ago that Drury said he experienced a case of "burn out," losing his passion for football after playing since fourth grade. He decided to sit out his junior season in favor of concentrating on his grades and preparing for college.
"I just didn't have the passion for it anymore," Drury said. "My whole life was football, football, football. I could feel that I didn't want to give 100 percent on the field."
It sounds like a fairy tale: Drury sits out a season, misses the game so much that he couldn't wait to return, then proving himself to the coaching staff by earning the starting job before his senior season. However, that's not quite how the story unfolded.
Instead, Drury's return to the Mustangs has been a rocky journey that, even with the team sitting at 2-0 entering Friday's game at winless Ridgewood, is still not over.
"At one time, Trey was so deep in my doghouse, I didn't know if he'd ever get out of it," Mitchell head coach Scott Schmitz admitted.
While Drury's return to the field coincided with his desire to play one final season, it still didn't return his passion for the game during the spring and summer.
Needing a competent leader to guide his complex Wing-T offense and a talented enough thrower to give the Mustangs what they sorely lacked last season – a passing game to complement their outstanding rushing attack – Schmitz expected a rejuvenated Drury to take the helm.
Instead, what he got was unenthusiastic play that led to Schmitz's decision to start junior Taylor Schneider for the Kickoff Classic against Wiregrass Ranch.
Finally, Drury said, he took notice of his impending missed opportunity and vowed to make amends.
"I had to come back out and prove myself and probably wasn't pushing myself as much as I could have," Drury said. "(The coaching staff) pushed me to be a better player. One day I thought about it and figured if I was going to be out here, I better go all out and step up."
Drury was named the starter for Mitchell's season opener against Anclote, tossing a pair of long touchdown passes in a 20-10 victory, then threw another TD in a blowout win at Gulf last week. The rejuvenated passing attack, though used sparingly, has given notice to opponents that stacking the box against the run – which was a main reason for Mitchell finishing 2-5 and out of the playoffs following a 3-0 start a season ago – could result in quick Mustangs scores. Drury has completed 6 of 11 passes for 185 yards – an average of nearly 31 yards per completion.
"I feel confident that when I get in there, the offense is going to score every drive," Drury said. "I know we're going to play teams that put seven or eight guys in the box to shut down the run, but if the guys do what they're supposed to do, we're going to have a well-rounded passing game and our offense will be able to make the plays we need to."
And that, Schmitz and the Mustangs believe, could make all the difference between turning a quick start into a playoff berth or another disappointing finish.