“They have big inside and outside linemen that can move and get to the ball,” he said.
Mendoza has thrown for 1,286 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He also has rushed for five scores, but his carries have been limited this season in an attempt to keep him healthy.
Mendoza injured his knee and missed most of his sophomore season. Clinton's backup quarterback was lost for the year at the beginning of the season with a torn ACL.
“We don't run him more at quarterback because we are not deep at that position,” Lee said. “He is as good as a linebacker as we've had here in the last five or six years, but we've limited his playing time there to try to keep him healthy.”
Mendoza's 12 rushes for 40 yards in Clinton's semifinal win over Ada were the most he has carried the ball this season.
“There is no saving anymore,” Mendoza said. “It's all hands on deck now.”
Mendoza's favorite target in the passing game is Mitchell, who has 41 catches for 854 yards this season. He also has rushed for 415 yards on 58 carries. Mitchell has scored 11 touchdowns.
“We don't throw it much, but he makes a ton of plays,” Lee said.
Simpkins, Mendoza and Mitchell will be counted on heavily Saturday in the 4A title game.
“They are our major weapons,” Lee said. “They have been the key for us, along with being decent up front.”
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