Leopards hang tough with state-ranked Blanco

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Leopard sophomore Malik Mitchell (2) breaks through the Blanco defense in the second quarter of the Van Vleck - Blanco bi-district playoff game Friday in Yoakum. Mitchell scored the Leopards’ touchdown.

The large crowd at Yoakum High School’s stadium went silent for nearly 15 minutes last Friday as coaches, trainers – and then paramedics — attended to Malik Mitchell. 
   The Van Vleck High School sophomore had been a key to his scrappy young team holding tight with state-ranked Blanco in this first-round playoff game. 
   He had scored the game’s first touchdown, and broken free for several other long runs that had kept the Panther’s defense guessing wrong much of the night.
   But now, he was screaming tortuously.
   And plenty of somber observers in the stands were confused about how, exactly, he had gone down so dramatically on that fourth-quarter drive in which the Leopards, down 12-7, were threatening to take the lead.
   “We’ve watched that play on video, several times, and I still don’t know exactly what happened,” Van Vleck head coach Robert Blackmon said on Tuesday.
   “Malik says someone stepped on his leg. We just don’t know.”

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