Usually, a players’ value to his team doesn’t show just in the numbers he puts up. Even a skill position player can be undervalued based solely on his numbers. Although he had a solid junior year for one of the top programs in AAAA, Northfield’s Mitchell Stanchina believes his value to the Raiders’ football team goes beyond his numbers.
The Raiders completed a perfect regular season before bowing out of the section playoffs earlier than anyone expected.
“We had a really good regular season,” Stanchina said. “We seemed to work well together. We just fell short at the end. The regular season we pushed ourselves in practice and really benefited a lot from that.”
Stanchina felt the success of the 2017 team was built on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think defense was our team’s strength. We did well against the pass, and our defensive line was phenomenal against the run. When our offense was clicking, we were able to run whenever we needed to. Our receivers were running good routes, and that was opening up the inside running game.”
The junior’s contributions were not easily quantified.
“My stats don’t show how well I did,” northstarfootballnews.com’s 26th ranked 2019 graduate said. “I think I did the little things right – blocking, faking, stuff that doesn’t show up in the stats. I still think I got my yards and touchdowns.”
“My speed is one of my strengths,” Stanchina continued. “I also think I can split out and be a receiver too. I am a multiple threat player. I think I am a good leader too.”
Stanchina also played defensive back.
“I am best in coverage. I think I communicate well with the other defenders to make sure we are all on the same page. I usually would shift to the side of the better receivers and shut them down.”
As a sophomore, Stanchina was part of a three-back rotation before locking down the starting running back spot in 2017. The junior started the majority of the snaps on defense as a 10th grader too. Before his senior season, he is looking to improve on the physical and mental aspects of his game.
“I want to become a better leader and really push my teammates to keep working hard – not just focus on myself but push my team to get better. On defense, I want to get better at reading offenses, and at running back, I need to get better at running through people.”
Stanchina is a three-sport athlete. He is a frontcourt player on the basketball team and an outfielder on the baseball team.
“In basketball, my role was to play defense, rebound and be a hustle player,” said the 6’3″ 190-pound junior. “In baseball, I am usually hitting in the two or three spots.”
It will ramp up in the summer, but he also has been in the weight room in the winter and spring. This summer he will be participating in seven on seven as well as his weight and speed training.
The junior already has Division I interest.
“I have talked to North Dakota, South Dakota State, and Iowa about their camps. I am still looking into more. I have been to UND and SDSU’s junior days. Iowa has been interested in my film. Minnesota gave me some game day invites. There have also been some DII and DIII schools contacting me.”
At those junior days, Stanchina got the feeling UND sees him as a safety and SDSU as a running back.
His statistics might not reflect it, but his team’s success and the interest he has received from college programs across the five-state area show that success – even for a skill position player – is not always about numbers.