By Megan Hecox
The Mansfield Tigers lost 53-24 in Round 2 of the Playoffs against the Osceola Seminoles. For the 7 Seniors that have played their hearts out for the Mansfield football program, it was a bittersweet ending. After years of struggling to win games while doing their best to ignore the publics negative criticisms, the Tigers proved that good things come to those who wait.
The Seniors finally got the chance to bask in the glory of making it to Round 2 of the Playoffs. Although the “Senior Seven” will be hanging up their jerseys for the last time, they at least got to end their High School football careers with a bang. By consistently pushing forward no matter the obstacles and achieving this success, the Coaches, Players, Cheerleaders, Band Members, and Parents have unknowingly done something. They have awoken the Beast. The football season might be over but Tiger Pride in the community is just getting started.
In true Tiger fashion of Go Big or Go Home, Layton Howard was first to get the fans jumping out of their seats as he shot through the Seminoles defense like a cannon, scoring the Tigers first touchdown. Mimicking Stretch Armstrong, Tyler Holmes had to reach with every inch of his body to secure the second Tigers touchdown. Colton Stipins played the most epic game of Hot Potato to achieve his touchdown. Just as Stipins jumped to receive a pass from Ethan Stovall, a Seminole player jumped and tipped the ball at the same time. Tiger fans watched in silence as the ball started to descend back down into what looked to be the Seminoles hands. Stipins magically swooped back in and grabbed the ball scoring the third touchdown for the Tigers. Isaac Cothran racked up the Tigers fourth and final touchdown by scoring a good old fashioned ground and pound run right up the middle.
The Tigers defense bowed up on numerous occasions shutting down the speedy Seminoles offense. The turnover battle was a big part of the Tigers success in Friday nights game. With help from Keaton Boyd, Blayne Bryant, Bri Sanderson, TJ Simmons, and Jacob Brown just to name a few, the Tigers did what every defense sets out to do. GET THAT BALL!!! Mansfield’s defense stripped the ball from the Seminole running backs multiple times giving the Tigers offense opportunities to put points on the board. The Seminoles may have been faster but the Tigers defense showed more heart by playing each down with tenacity.
For the outsiders looking in, Friday nights game against Osceola could be described as anything but victorious for the Mansfield Tigers. But for those who have lived Mansfield football day in and day out, the way the Tigers played was triumphant.
By Megan Hecox