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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Jr Tigers Train Bulldogs To “Turnover” In Win

Arkansas River Valley Business Directory

When most folks think of the Battle of Scott County, the first thing that comes to mind is the Sr High battles over the years between Mansfield and Waldron. The Jr High games tend to fall to the side in Tiger fans’ minds. Why? Simply because Bulldogs have owned the Tiger’s tails over the past few years, and nobody wants to remember losses. But that all changed on Thursday, September 2nd as the Jr Tigers traveled to The Pound and routed Waldron 28-0. 

Trey Powell

The game kicked off with both teams sizing each other up. Mansfield went to work on offense first but was stunned by the bigger Bulldogs as Waldron stuffed the Tiger’s power run game. The Tigers returned the favor as they were able to shut down Waldron’s bread and butter runs to the perimeter of the field. With neither offense running on all cylinders, the game looked to become a slow defensive battle. Waldron was beginning to put a solid drive together with 2:11 left in the 1st quarter when the Tigers defense went into attack mode. Mansfield flooded the backfield with white jerseys with Cisco Fildes forcing the Bulldogs to put the ball on the turf. Nose guard Toby Towe scooped up the fumble and screamed 37 yards downfield for a Tiger touchdown. And Zander Walters plowed his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion to give Mansfield an early 8-0 lead.  

A defensive score is a great way to start a game, but Mansfield wanted to finish this one and finish it fast. On the Bulldog’s next offensive position, the Tigers again created chaos in the Waldron backfield forcing another fumble with Mansfield’s Jeremy Strozier recovering the ball and rolling downfield 39 yards for another Tiger touchdown with 0:43 seconds left in the 1st quarter. The extra point attempt was no good, but Mansfield closed out the 1st quarter with a 14-0 lead over Waldron. Although the defense was scoring for Mansfield, the offense would not be outdone. Trey Powell took a handoff and dodged black jerseys to the left and right for what would have been another touchdown for Mansfield, but the run was called back by a holding penalty. The Tigers shrugged off the penalty and shorty landed an offensive touchdown when Jeremy Strozier zoned in a laser dot pass to Toby Towe who took the ball 58 yards to the end zone. With the extra point attempt no good, Mansfield kicked off to Waldron again. Waldron almost gave the Tigers the ball right back as they ended the half with a pass that was nearly intercepted by Joey Fildes. The Tigers would walk into halftime with a commanding 20-0 lead over the Bulldogs.  

Toby Towe

The Tigers may have worn their all-white uniforms to Waldron, but they were red hot coming out of halftime. Mansfield’s defense continued to pound away at the Bulldogs and again forced the ball on the turf as Dawson Robinson recovered turnover number three for the Tigers. That’s when the offense put together a drive that would make even a NASCAR driver take a double look. With big runs by Trey Powell, Jeremy Strozier, and Dawson Robinson, Mansfield made it hard for the Bulldogs defense to figure out who the threat really was. That’s when Zander “The Zan-Dozer” Walters made his Sports Center Top10 appearance. At 2:28 on the clock, Walters took a handoff from Strozier and mowed over one defender, juked another in the open field, and stiff-armed another Bulldog en route to a Mansfield touchdown. Strozier tacked on a two-point conversion to end the 3rd quarter with a 28-0 lead for the Tigers.  

Zander Walters

Mansfield closed the game out the way they started…….with defense. Aaron Person who contained the Bulldogs all night at his left linebacker position, racked up a few more tackles giving Waldron no choice but to run up the gut where the Tigers would again make the Bulldogs drop the ball but this time with Cooper Edwards recovering the ball for the Tigers sealing up the final score for Mansfield with a 28-0 shut out. Although the Tiger’s defense stole the show, their offense was good enough to stun most future opponents. Quarterback, Jeremy Strozier, was a perfect 2 for 2 passing for 34 yards and a touchdown. Wide Receivers Toby Towe and Trey Powell caught one pass each with Towe gaining his 23 yards for a touchdown and Powell zipping 11 yards with his catch. But it was the ground and pound game that was again the staple of the Tigers offense. Zander Walters had 9 rushes for 69 yards and a touchdown while Jeremy Strozier gained 26 yards off of 4 carries. Trey Powell made a positive 6 yards on his only carry of the game.

Jeremy Strozier

“Any win is a good win,” said Coach Tim Cothran. “We had most of our team back for that game and Waldron was shorthanded due to quarantines just like we were last week. Our players executed very well and made the best of the opportunities given to them. It was a great experience for our players and a good win.” The win over Waldron was a great motivator for Mansfield, but the Tiger’s grueling schedule doesn’t end quite yet. Sitting with a 1-1 record vs larger 4A schools, the Tigers aim to carve some tenderloin from their next 4A opponents, the Elkins Elks. The Jr Tigers will play their 3rd straight larger 4A opponent as they welcome the Elkins Elks to The Jungle on September 10th.

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