By Bob Kowalski
Mansfield held off a fourth-quarter charge by Lake Ridge to preserve a 49-34 victory and remain undefeated Friday at Vernon Newsom Stadium.
The Tigers (5-0, 2-0 11-6A) led 28-14 at halftime, and opened the second half with great field position when Brenden Jordan fielded the kickoff at Mansfield’s 22-yard line and returned it 46 yards to set up the Tigers at the Lake Ridge 32-yard line.
A 22-yard pass from quarterback Sergio Kennedy to Jacobe Hayes put the Tigers at first-and-goal from the 10. Three plays later, Kennedy and Hayes connected on an 11-yard score to extend Mansfield’s lead to 35-14.
The Eagles (1-4, 0-2) stormed back, assembling a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive mastered by quarterback Kennen Miller, who gained a chunk of that yardage on a 32-yard pass play to Jamaal Hall. Running back Raycine Guillory capped the drive by taking a pitch from Miller and racing 16 yards to the end zone to cut Mansfield’s lead to 35-20 with nearly 7 minutes left in the third quarter.
Mansfield’s James Johnson dove in from one yard out 3 minutes later to rebuild the Tigers’ lead to 42-20, but Lake Ridge quickly responded when Guillory raced 46 yards for a TD and the Eagles converted for two points and 42-28 score. The Eagles defense forced a three-and-out, and the offense did its part when Kennedy hit Bryce Marcus from 14 yards to cut the deficit to 42-34 with just under 10 minutes left to play.
Mansfield marched downfield and set up for a field goal from the 11-yard line, but an offsides call against Lake Ridge gave the Tigers a first down at the 6-yard line, where Johnson notched another TD run for the game’s final score with 4 ½ minutes left.
Lake Ridge drove the length of the field, converting on fourth down on a spectacular sideline catch by Guillory, who snagged a 16-yard pass while keeping his toes inbound to give the Eagles a first down at the 24-yard line.
On the next play, Hunter Reeves made a sliding catch at the 4-yard line to extend the drive. Mansfield’s Jayden Jefferson ended the threat on the next play, intercepting a pass 2 yards deep in the end zone and returning it for an apparent touchdown. A holding penalty brought the ball back, though, and Mansfield gained a first down to kill the clock and end the game.
Mansfield scored on its first possession of the game on a 59-yard pass from Kennedy to Hayes at 8:20 in the first quarter.
The Eagles answered quickly, with Miller tossing an 8-yard TD pass to Bryce Marcus to cap a 75-yard drive and tie the game at 7-7. Guillory started the drive with a 12-yard run, and Miller added a 36-yard pass to Zaden Jackson, and scrambled for a 12-yard gain after being flushed from the pocket.
On Mansfield’s next drive, Johnson carried the load, rushing on three of the five plays, including a 28-yarder on which he slipped several tackles for the big gain. He added runs of 15 and 7 yards to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Ian Sharpshair to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead with 3 ½ minutes left in the first quarter.
The Eagles tied the game again on the first play of the second quarter when Guillory rushed for 39 yards, carrying Tigers defenders into the end zone for the 14-14 deadlock. Lake Ridge attempted an onside kick, but Mansfield gained possession on the Eagles’ 49-yard line.
The Tigers took advantage of the short field, scoring three plays later when Kennedy bolted past the line and cruised 33 yards for a touchdown, putting Mansfield up 21-14 with just under 11 minutes in the half.
Kennedy capped the first half scoring by surging past the secondary on a 75-yard scoring run with 1:47 left before halftime.\
At halftime, Lake Ridge crowned its 2022 Homecoming King and Queen, Jamaal Hall and Jada Foster.
In other Mansfield ISD action Friday, Summit (3-2, 2-0 5-5A DII)defeated Burleson, 40-22; and Legacy (3-2, 1-1 11-6A)beat Dallas Skyline, 19-7. On Thursday night, Timberview beat Carrollton Newman Smith, 56-8.
Next week, only Timberview (5-0, 3-0) 5-5A DI) is active, traveling to North Richland Hills to face Birdville on Friday.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.