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Thursday, September 28, 2023

SR Tigers Defense Dismantles Waldron In Battle of Scott County

Scott County True Value Hardware Guns Ammo

When it comes to rivalries, everything that is normal is thrown out the window. All bets are off and so are the gloves which leaves the logical-minded fans baffled as records and stats mean nothing. The only thing that matters in a rivalry game is four quarters of football. This bodes especially true when it comes to the Battle of Scott County between the Mansfield Tigers and Waldron Bulldogs. The Tigers entered the game with a stunning 2-0 record in nonconference games where they outscored their opponents 103 to 9. Waldron came into the matchup on the opposite end of the spectrum, falling in three straight games by being outscored 20 to 119. But remember, petty things like numbers mean nothing in such a rivalry. 

The Tigers rip and roar through their spirit banner to start the Battle of Scott County.
Photo courtesy of Joey Bolin

Mansfield started off the game kicking off to the Bulldogs and sent their destructive defense out to build momentum. It didn’t take long for the Tigers to excite the packed visitors’ stands as defensive tackle Dakota Deer reeled in back-to-back tackles for loss forcing Waldron to punt on their opening drive. It only took six plays behind the tough running of Tyler Turnipseed and Andrew Burton for Mansfield to make their way down to the one-yard line where Jeremy Strozier punched in the Tigers first touchdown. Strozier then tacked on the extra point kick to set the score at an early 7-0 Mansfield lead. Mansfield’s defense again stuffed the Bulldogs, but the Tigers fell victim to the turnover bug. The bug bit both the cats and dogs in the opening quarter as the Battle of Scott County was already living up to the hype with a narrow 7-0 Mansfield lead.

Senior running back, Tyler Turnipseed, takes to the air for a first down.
Photo courtesy of Joey Bolin

 The Tigers offense continued to stumble back and forth with turnovers and penalties in the second quarter which shoved every ounce of previously gained momentum right into the Bulldogs possession. Waldron had the same ball control issues though as both Waldron and Mansfield traded turnovers back and forth as if they were playing hot potato with the football. Although the Tigers defense stayed on the field for nearly the entire second quarter, they kept their composure which gave Mansfield the nudge they needed. Mansfield would finally shake off their offensive woes towards the end of the half when Cole Kindle found a wide-open Peyton Martin on a crossing route for a 15-yard Tiger touchdown. Jeremy Strozier’s extra point kick split the uprights giving the Tigers a 14-0 advantage as the first half came to a close. Although Mansfield had a two-score lead, the score left wondering minds guessing if Waldron could be the Tigers 2023 kryptonite. 

Defenders Dakota Deer (#79), Samual Burton (#22), and Logan Ore (#72) put a leash on a Waldron ball carrier.
Photo courtesy of Joey Bolin

Mansfield received the opening kickoff of the second half and the Tigers offense pounced on the opportunity to redeem themselves from a cold first half. Tyler Turnipseed took the first handoff of the third quarter for four yards and was followed up by Daniel Burton taking the next handoff 48 yards to the house for a Tiger touchdown. Jeremy Strozier added on the extra point and just like that, the Tigers were up 21-0. Waldron wasn’t going to be shut out on their home field though and drove the length of the field to score off a one-yard dive. The Bulldogs couldn’t convert their two point attempt which set the score at 21-6. But lady luck leaned Waldron’s way as Mansfield bobbled the snap on their next series giving the Bulldogs the ball right back. The Tigers would get their packback two plays later though as Logan Ore forced a fumble allowing Samuel Burton to scoop the ball up and roll 58 yards untouched for a Tiger touchdown. The extra point kick by Jeremy Strozier was good and the Tigers were back in business leading Waldron 28-6. The defensive score was so nice, Mansfield did it twice as Matthew Burton stripped the ball away from a Bulldogs running back allowing Ethan Martin to rumble 69 yards for another Mansfield defensive score. A Jeremy Strozier extra point catapulted the Tigers to a commanding 35-6 lead as the third quarter came to a close.

Daniel Burton (#30) puts teh spin cycle on Waldron to roll into the endzone.
Photo courtesy of Joey Bolin

Turnovers for touchdowns became the second half theme as Daniel Burton snagged a 70-yard pick six on the Bulldogs second play of the fourth quarter. The defensive score coupled with a Jeremy Strozier extra point lifted the Tigers to a massive lead and gave them a running clock for the remainder of the game. As the clock and game wound down, Mansfield’s offense had one last shot of redemption, and this time, they seized the moment big time. A quick handoff to the Tigers ultimate speedster, Trey Powell, led to Powell burning the turf for a 68-yard touchdown. The score was the nail in the coffin for Waldron as Mansfield ran away with a 48-6 victory and bragging rights over Scott County.

Mansfield celetbrates an Ethan Martin defensive scoop and score.
Photo courtesy of Joey Bolin

For the second year in a row, Mansfield will enter conference play next week with a 3-0 record. The Tigers offense may have made mistakes in their rivalry game against Waldron, but they are a work in progress still. The young Tigers team has proven that they refuse to break when faced with adversity. Although they may have seemed to be rough around the edges at times, the Tigers will continue to grow under first-year head coach, Whit Overton. That growth will be tested sooner than later too as Mansfield will face West Fork on Friday, September 22nd in their first conference game and for Homecoming nonetheless. The Tigers will be physically outsized by their black and gold Tiger counterparts, but it’s the size of Mansfield’s teamwork that has gotten them this far and they will again lean on that characteristic to try to overpower West Fork.

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