Caleb Morrow was crowned Mansfield High's Homecoming King and Carson Conley was named Homecoming Queen on Friday night at Newsom Stadium. Photos by Dominic Ceraldi/Mansfield Record
By Bob Kowalski
Friday night’s football game between Mansfield and Summit had everything you’d expect from Mansfield ISD’s oldest and most intense rivalry. In a game that wasn’t decided until the final play, Mansfield won, 39-37, at Vernon Newsom Stadium, sending its raucous homecoming crowd home elated.
The Tigers (2-0) scored 32 points in the second half, the last on a 47-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Braxton Van Cleave to Zion Robinson, who caught the ball at the Summit 20, broke a tackle and sped into the end zone with 1:02 left in the game.
Summit (1-1) had just enough time – and two timeouts – to mount a drive of its own, but Jaguars quarterback Demarus Bird’s pass from the Mansfield 39-yard line was knocked away at the goal line as the clock ran out.
Summit opened the scoring with the first of several big plays. The teams combined for six touchdowns that covered more than 45 yards. On the game’s first possession, Bird passed to Joseph Williams, who outleaped two defenders for a 72-yard TD catch with just over 1 ½ minutes gone in the game for a 7-0 Summit lead.
Eight minutes later, the Jaguars’ smothering defensive line forced Van Cleave into an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, resulting in a safety and 9-0 Summit lead. That field position was set up by an interception by Summit’s Kyland Reed at the Summit 40-yard line.
Summit struck early again in the second quarter when Bird and Williams connected on another big pass play on fourth-and-11 from the Mansfield 18-yard line for a 16-0 Summit lead.
The Jaguars defense kept Mansfield on its side of midfield until about 5 minutes remained in the first half. Van Cleave hit Robinson on a screen pass, and the speedy sophomore went 37 yards for a score that cut Summit’s lead to 16-7.
The Jaguars answered on their next drive, marching 83 yards to set up running back Amare Burgess’ 2-yard TD run, increasing the lead to 23-7, where it stood at halftime.
Mansfield wasted no time after receiving the second-half kickoff, with Van Cleave hitting Jacobe Hayes for a 75-yard scoring play. Hayes caught the pass at Summit’s 45-yard line and surged past the secondary to reach the end zone untouched to pull within 23-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, Mansfield’s Jaxon James recovered a fumble off a short kick to put Mansfield in position at the Summit 28. Hayes took a handoff, then passed to the sideline, where Robinson made the catch, then weaved through Summit’s defense for the Tigers’ second touchdown in 14 seconds, making the score 23-20 in Summit’s favor and shifting the momentum to Mansfield.
The Tiger defense held and Mansfield got the ball back on its own 33 with 8 minutes left in the third quarter. About two minutes later, Van Cleave found Tim Abraham, who snagged a perfect throw between two defenders for a 47-yard TD and Mansfield’s first lead of the game, 26-23.
The lead didn’t last long, thanks to an unusual play by Summit. On the first play from scrimmage, Bird’s short pass to Da’Vonte Johnson was caught then fumbled, but Summit’s Davaughn Sille alertly grabbed the ball on the bounce and zoomed past stunned Mansfield defenders for a 65-yard score to put Summit back in front, 30-26.
The teams traded possessions before Mansfield struck again early in the fourth quarter. Late in the third, a roughing-the-passer penalty on Summit forced Van Cleave to the sideline. Three plays later, he was back in the game and scored on a 21-yard quarterback draw to put Mansfield up again, 33-30, with 11 minutes left to play in the game.
With just under four minutes left in the game, Summit’s stopped a Mansfield drive when Jordan Hubbard intercepted a pass at Summit’s 4-yard line and returned it to the 30. Three plays later, Bird found Isaiah Allen for a 69-yard touchdown pass, giving Summit a 37-33 lead with 2:40 to play.
After a 16-yard kick return by Hayes put Mansfield at its own 43, Van Cleave went to work, leading a five-play drive that ended with another touchdown pass to Robinson for 47 yards and a 39-37 Mansfield lead with 1:02 left in the game.
Summit, with two timeouts remaining, drove from its 32 to Mansfield’s 39, but Bird’s final pass to the goal line was broken up by Mansfield’s defense to preserve the 39-37 win.
In Thursday games involving Mansfield ISD teams, Lake Ridge fell to Boswell, 66-42; Legacy lost to Crowley, 29-3; and Timberview defeated Arlington Sam Houston, 55-14.
This week, Legacy travels to face Dallas Wilson at 7 p.m. Thursday at Forrester Field; Summit plays host to Crowley at 7 p.m. Thursday at Vernon Newsom Stadium; Lake Ridge is at home against Rockwall Heath at 7 p.m. Friday at Vernon Newsom Stadium; Manfield visits South Grand Prairie at 7 p.m. Friday at the Warrior-Gopher Bowl; and Timberview travels to meet W.T. White at 7 p.m. Friday at Loos Sports Complex.
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.