The Mansfield Jr Tigers hosted the Lincoln Wolves on Thursday, October 15th with the intent of tanning the Wolves’ hide. Knowing that Lincoln was freshly moved down from the 4A to 3A, the Tigers weren’t overlooking the Wolves’ capabilities. Mansfield wanted to make sure that this would surely be a cat and dog fight until the end.
Lincoln jumped out on top with a quick touchdown with seven minutes still left in the first quarter. With the Tigers defense burnt early, Mansfield’s offense took over with intentions of embarrassing the Wolves. That didn’t take too long at all as Peyton Martin took the Tigers downtown for the touchdown bringing the game to an 8-8 tie at the 6:50 mark. Merely twenty-six seconds later, Lincoln jumped ahead as they lit up the scoreboard again. Lincoln would score again before Tyler Turnipseed played whack a mole with the Wolves as he turned on the afterburners to score and close the gap for the Tigers. The Wolves weren’t done yet though as the Tigers let another Wolves score slip through their fingers. With a score of 30-14 with 0:58 remaining in the first quarter, the game was starting to look like an offensive leapfrog match.
Mansfield started the second quarter with plenty of fight still in them. Martin found his favorite target in Turnipseed who again took the Tigers into the endzone. Jeremy Strozier punched in the two-point conversion bringing the scoreboard to 30-22. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the smallest mistakes began adding up in the second quarter. A missed tackle here, a turnover there, and a few penalties put the Wolves in the driver’s seat for the rest of the half. Lincoln would score two more times before the half leaving the Tigers heading to the sidelines down 44-22 at halftime.
The Tigers came out in at the beginning of the second half with more emphasis on stopping the Wolves from getting easy scores. The battle was back and forth as the Tigers claws were out and the Wolves teeth were gnashing. Mansfield held the Wolves to a single score in the third quarter. Still one score too many, it was a drastic improvement from the first quarter defensively. The Tigers continued that stride into the fourth quarter defensively and their offense took note. Trey Powell boot, scoot, and boogied past the Wolves defense to put the Tigers back on the scoreboard bringing the game to a 52-28 score with 3:51 left in the contest. Down three scores, the Tigers pulled the curtains off the moon as they squibbed off an onside kick. While the Wolves were looking up mesmerized by the moon, the Tigers pounced on the ball recovering the onside kick and sent their offense back on the field. It was again Tyler Turnipseed who got the Tigers back into the endzone bringing the game to 52-34. Mansfield’s offense and defense held strong, but father time waits for no one as the final horn went off handing the Tigers a 52-34 loss.
Mansfield’s offense put on a show that was the best of their season thus far rounding up 391 total yards and five touchdowns. Best of all, that was all done with a balanced pass/run offense where multiple players touched the ball. Quarterback, Peyton Martin, completed eight passes for 182 yards while fellow QB, Jeremy Strozier, made his only completion count as it went for 46 yards and a score. The wide receiving core was led by Tyler Turnipseed who caught four passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Helping the Tigers receiving stats were Strozier, Toby Towe, and Dakota Langford who combined for 5 catches and 56 yards. The rushing attack was led by the dual-threat quarterback Martin who rolled up eight runs for 65 yards and a touchdown. Trey Powell had four carries for 26 yards and a score of his own. Aaron Person took three handles and took the ball for a total of 35 yards averaging 11.6 yards per carry. Strozier and Turnipseed teamed up with eight carries for 38 yards. And Martin also had 2 defensive interceptions.
Although a loss is a loss, the Jr Tigers looked quite good at times Thursday night. They have to correct the minor mistakes and sure up their game as they look to aim for the ankles of the Lavaca Golden Arrows on Thursday, October 22nd. Lavaca is a tough team, especially on their home field. But Mansfield’s Jr High loves a good challenge and don’t “quiver” against any opponent.