Mansfield rallies against Lake Ridge to stay unbeaten

September 23, 2023
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(Photos by Houston Mitchell/Mansfield Record)

By Bob Kowalski

Mansfield Record

Mansfield overcame a 12-point second-half deficit, then survived a late score by Lake Ridge to hold on for a 35-33 victory Friday night at Vernon Newsom Stadium.

The Tigers (5-0, 2-0 11-6A) took a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the game, but didn’t lead again until 2 ½ minutes into the fourth quarter, when quarterback Braxton Van Cleave connected with Jacobe Hayes on a 16-yard touchdown pass play to put the Tigers up 27-26.

Mansfield extended its advantage to 35-26 about 6 minutes later when James Johnson scored on a 1-yard run. Four plays earlier, Johnson carried several Lake Ridge defenders as he bulled 13 yards to set up the Tigers on the Eagles’ 11-yard line.

Lake Ridge (0-5, 0-1 11-6A) got the ball back with just over 3 minutes left in the game and drove from its own 17-yard line. Running back Marcus Hayes put the Eagles near midfield with a 14-yard run, followed by a dazzling 34-yard burst by quarterback Kamryn Wallace. Running back Tre’Quan Murphy tacked on a pair of 7-yard runs to set up a first-and-goal at Mansfield’s 10-yard line with just over a minute left in the game.

A pass interference call in the end zone put the ball at the 2-yard line, and Wallace scored from there to cut Mansfield’s lead to 35-33 with 40 seconds left, but the Eagles couldn’t regain possession.

In the first quarter, Lake Ridge answered Mansfield’s early TD by driving 75yards, capping it off with a 2-yard TD pass from Wallace to David Vallejo with 8 ½ minutes gone in the quarter. An eye-opening 39-yard run by Marcus Hayes in the first minute of the second quarter gave the Eagles their first lead, 14-7.

Mansfield knotted the score at 14-14 with another big play, a 64-yard dash by Johnson with 8 ½ minutes left in the first half.

Then Lake Ridge took control, getting a 32-yard field goal from Lance Taggart, a 4-yard TD run from Marcus Hayes and a safety when Mansfield snapped the ball out of the end zone on a punt attempt. That put the Eagles up 26-14 midway through the third quarter.

Mansfield answered 5 ½ minutes later with its own big play, with Van Cleave hitting Jacobe Hayes on a 77-yard touchdown pass to cut Lake Ridge’s lead to 5 points, 26-21, to close out the third quarter and set the stage for the two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Elsewhere in the Mansfield ISD, Legacy (1-4, 0-2 11-6A) fell to Dallas Skyline, 35-16, at Forrester Field; and Timberview (5-0, 3-0 5-5A DI) defeated Carrollton Newman Smith, 55-14, at Standridge Stadium. On Thursday, Summit (3-2, 2-0 5-5A DII) beat Burleson, 49-11.

Next week, Timberview is the only Mansfield ISD school in action, playing host to Birdville at 7 p.m. Friday at Vernon Newsom Stadium for the Wolves’ homecoming.

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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.

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