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Saturday, October 1, 2022

7th Grade Tigers Kneeled To No Program In 2020

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Pictured is QB Cooper Edwards, #59 Wyatt Boyd, and #50 James Bausley

The Mansfield 7th Grade had quite the season in 2020. Although they did not complete an undefeated season as their 2019 counterparts, they did make it clear to every program that they were not to be taken lightly. Finishing the season with a 6-3 overall record and a 5-1 conference record, the 7th Graders held their own against every opponent. Mansfield fell to 4A opponents Elkins and Mena but beat Waldron. Their sole loss in the 3A conference season was a 22-14 nail baiter where Charleston scored literally in the final minute of the game. Very few schools held a full 7th Grade team, so the 7th Grade Tigers played almost all of their games against teams mixed with 7th and 8th graders. The 7th Grade played up with the 8th Graders for a win over Magazine and contributed the only points in the Jr Highs loss to Hackett when they moved up on the final week.

Traevin Copeland

The most impressive point of emphasis on the season was the depth of talent in Mansfield’s backfield. Running Backs, Zander Walters and Dawson Robinson, ran rampant throughout the season as the Tiger’s primary workhorses. Walters was the impossible to tackle grinding runner who willed his way across goal lines while Robinson used high-end speed and ankle-breaking moves to put points on the board. If a defense keyed in on one of them, the other would make them pay dearly. As with everyone, the dynamic duo needed a break now and then. That’s where depth in talent comes into play. Running Backs, Ethan Martin and Traevin Copeland, were more than capable to step in and keep the Tiger Train rolling.

Zander Walters

Think you can stop the run game? Then the Tigers would use Quarterback, Cooper Edwards, and his Wide Receiver core of Dominic Shores, Logan Newman, and Joey Fildes to force defenses to spread the field open again. Dominic “Sure Handed” Shores made wild catches that NFL scouts would drool at while speedy receivers of Newman and Fildes snagged passes on traffic which gave them the advantage over defenders in quick yardage routes. Edwards wasn’t merely a pocket passer though. If a defense blinked twice, Mansfield would pull the ol’ Cooper Keeper and send Edwards running for big yardage gains. All in all, Mansfield racked up an astounding 198 points in their solo games this season.

From L to R: Logan Ore, Kanon Fisher, Ethan Martin, and Joey Fildes

To be overall successful in football though, you must have a stout no-nonsense smash-mouth defense. Mansfield not only had that kind of defense, but they also mixed it with a batch of meanness and attitude to boot. Linemen, James Bausley, Kanon Fisher, Wyatt Boyd, Cadien Ore, and Logan Ore. The group formed what is known as the “Wall of Pain” and there was a steep toll to pay if an opponent wanted to cross that wall. Bausley was the wrecking ball for the defensive line as it wasn’t uncommon to see him in the backfield creating chaos right when the ball snapped. The Ore brothers could be dubbed “Pain and Regret”. Anyone who came head to head with the twins would feel a lot of pain and immediately regret running their way. Fisher and Boyd were linemen who could replace starters for anyone in the league as they used pure power and effort to plow their way for big takedowns.

Dawson Robinson

Often opponents would try to outrun the “Wall of Pain” and use speed to get outside of the dangerous linemen. Lying in wait would be Walters and Robinson who hit just as hard on defense as they do on offense. The pair made as many tackles on defense as they did yards on offense this season. Going to pass? Good. Waiting for you will be the QB Killer Alex “AxMan” Hecox. Hecox made a habit of chopping down quarterbacks and led the team in quarterback sacks this season. If an opponent was lucky enough to get a pass off, Defensive Backs, Edwards, Newman, Fildes, and Shores would be stuck tighter than OJ’s glove on the receivers. The Tiger’s depth was evident on defense too. Mansfield’s defense didn’t have subs, they had rotation. Jacob Elmore and Jacob Delp stepped in on many occasions to help close out the game. With excitement and hunger, both Elmore and Delp could build confidence in their teammates and make opponents second guess what they were doing before each play. The Tiger defense did allow 134 points on the season, but most of those points came against their 4A non-conference opponents.

With this skilled crew moving up to the 8th Grade next season and joining an already star-studded group who will be 9th Graders, all signs point up for the 2021 Jr High team. This group has already faced most of the talent their opponents will have this season and they were successful against the older players. They have the capability of winning every game but if they do lose one, their opponent will most definitely know that the Tigers were there. Congratulations on an awesome season 7th Grade Tigers.

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