By Megan Hecox
Many people in Mansfield spent this football season watching the Sr High Tigers in their historical run this year and rightfully so. The Sr Tigers had an AWESOME season. But did you know that the Little League Tigers had an AWESOME season too? Why yes, yes they did. The 3rd and 4th grade Tigers went 7-1-1 and won the West Central Football League Championship while 5th and 6th grade Tigers made the West Central Football League Playoffs.
The 3rd and 4th grade Mansfield Little League Tigers showed poise and discipline all season. They lost to Hackett and tied with JC Westside in the regular season, but were able to get redemption for those blemishes by dominating JC Westside in the Playoffs and beating Hackett in the WCFL Championship.
Manfield’s 3rd and 4th grade Head Coach David Moore said “It was truly an honor to be able to step up and coach this group of kids with my brother Steven and two of my classmates (Tim Wilson and Jeremy Whittaker) and friend Chris Williams. We knew we had some 4th graders that would step up and take the leadership role of the team and we had lots of raw talent in our group of 3rd graders. We just needed them to prove to themselves that they had what it takes to be great football players. Our main goal this season was to teach kids to love football and have as much fun as possible, but also to take care of business and they did exactly that. We had a few hiccups along the way but never doubted that they would be playing in the Championship at the end of the season. They knew what needed to be done in the big game and they took care of business. I am a firm believer that you need a great group of parents to make any Little League team a success and we had that. I’d like to thank all the parents for their support this season. I believe we had the bigger crowd at every home and away game. The kids notice those kinds of things. Mansfield Little League football has a great future.”
The Tigers 5th and 6th graders had a rough start but they pulled through and showed what they were made of towards the end of their season. Their 3 regular season losses came against other Playoff teams (Hackett, Magazine, and JC Westside). They faced off against undefeated and eventual WCFL Champions Hackett in their first round of the Playoffs and gave them all that they could handle before falling to the Hornets.
Tigers 5th and 6th grade Coach Jason Edwards said “No matter what the win/loss record may show, I honestly believe we had a great season. Our players did some real growth this year. They were knocked down multiple times but got back up every time. All a coach can ask for is a players best on the field and our kids went above and beyond their best for us. I am super proud of our players in every way. We’re losing some really great 6th Grade players in our skill positions and our line but there are a bunch of players ready to step up and #EARNIT next year. This is a tough group of young men who will no doubt make a huge difference in Mansfield football in future years to come.”
Mansfield Little League President Josh Strozier had this to say about the program “I think that changing leagues to the newly created WCFL has given all of us small towns a chance to strive. We’re all equal in size and talent which seems to make the kids hunger for the sport of football again. It all starts in Little League but the effects ripple all the way up into High School Football. These kids know they have the support of the community, coaches, and teammates anytime they go to war with any opponent on the field. There were some rough spots this season but we will adjust accordingly for next year. We want to encourage the kids to keep playing hard and bring their friends out to play next season. I’m very proud of every kid on both teams and their coaches. GO RED!”
If you thought the Tigers Sr High season was a mere Cinderella season, think again. Mansfield Little League is sending up some true contenders for the High School coaches to make Mansfield Football, as a whole, a force to be reckoned with in the future.
By Megan Hecox