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Saturday, April 20, 2024

SR Tigers Look To Wear Throwbacks For 2024 Game Versus Hackett

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It has become a common thing for sports teams at the college and professional levels to wear specialty uniforms for big rivalry games. The Miami Dolphins wear the franchise’s 1972 uniforms once a year when they play the New England Patriots. The Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans take turns wearing the crisp and clean old Houston Oilers uniforms when they play each other. In college, the Oregon Ducks wore their 1994 green and yellow uniforms when they faced off against Washington State this past season. The reason for the throwbacks is a tip of the hat to those who came before them. Miami wears its old uniforms in honor of the 1972 Dolphins who are still the only NFL team to ever go undefeated. Tennessee and Houston wear throwbacks because the former Houston Oilers have ties to both teams. Oregon wore their old school drab because of the iconic 97 yard interception for a touchdown to upset the Washington State Cougars in 1994. With the retro throwbacks being such a big hit in the professional and collegiate levels, the Mansfield Tigers decided that they’d try to bring the same kind of energy to the high school landscape.

Back in the late 90s, the Mansfield Tigers were a team that no one wanted to trifle with. The reason was not because they were the most talented team on the field in each game, but rather because they were a no nonsense hard nosed gritty program. Under former Head Coach, Larry Shuck, the Tigers made the State Playoffs for the first time in school history in 1996 and then again in 1998. The final game in each of those seasons determined who made the Playoffs that year and both years the Tigers’ final opponent was the Hackett Hornets. Although making the Playoffs for the first time in school history is a big deal, the Tigers second shot at the Playoffs at Hackett in 1998 was the game of all games. The winner of that game would fall into a three way tie with Hartford and Charleston for second place in the conference and would earn State Playoff berth while the loser would have to pack their bags for basketball season. It was a rowdy and ruckus game that came down to the final seconds on the scoreboard. With Hackett leading 42-41 and only nine seconds left in the game, Mansfield pulled a double reverse pass where Brandon Elmore pitched the ball to Tyler Hopper who handed the ball to Jacob Dickinson who then threw a laser guided pass to Daniel Martin for the game winning touchdown. The Tigers 47-42 victory over Hackett has lived in Mansfield’s wildest game history books ever since. Former players such as Danny Foote, Tyler Hopper, Jacob Dickinson, Eric Carlton, Bruce Eversole, Ryan James, current Mansfield volunteer coach, Daniel Martin, and others from the 1998 season have been names synonymous with Tiger football ever since.

With the modern day Tigers having the same type of 90s football tenacity, it seemed only fitting that they would choose to honor the old school gridiron teams by representing them with a throwback uniform in one of their games. While the current players still see Waldron as the biggest rival on their schedule, the game chosen by the 2024 Tigers will be none other than against the Hackett Hornets. The beef between these two programs hasn’t died down one bit since the late 90s. The Tigers have gone 4-2 against Hackett in the past six seasons narrowly outscoring the Hornets with a combined 168-147 points in those games. The game will likely be yet another conference slobberknocker this upcoming season. The throwbacks will consist of a white helmet with a red facemask donning a simple letter M on the sides with a red stripe down the middle. The Tigers will wear a cardinal red jersey with extra larger numbers and “Tigers” written across the chest coupled with double white stripes on the sleeves while donning plain white pants. The teams decision on the uniform change for one game is an honorable one and one that they hope will continue in future seasons in this rivalry game. The final decision on ordering and wearing the throwbacks will be made by Mansfield’s athletic director on April 1st, 2024. Who knows, maybe the Tigers can “fool” the school into making this a permanent look.

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