Heading into the Tigers season opener last Friday, MHS Students, faculty, and the citizens of the Mansfield area were anxiously the start of the “Battle of Scott County” at Tiger stadium.
Moments before kickoff of the annual contest, the line to enter Tiger Stadium was as long as the football field itself. With expectations high for the start of the 2016 high school football season, an estimated 2,000 fans overwhelmed seating capacity to catch the first game of the new year.
Both Mansfield, and Waldron brought large numbers of fans to fill both sides of bleachers, and emotions were running high as both teams entered the field. Going into the game, Mansfield was favored as they have won the contest for the past 10 years.
“We thought there would be a huge crowd for this annual Scott County Battle,” stated women’s athletic director John Mackey. “There were three gate keepers scheduled to accommodate the masses. Unfortunately, unexpected circumstances kept one of those from attending. The entrance line got a lot longer than we wanted. But, the two gatekeepers we did have did a fantastic job of moving people through as fast as they could.”
According to administrative records, over 1,500 paid tickets were distributed on game night. Another several hundred people were let into the stadium with advance passes. That brought the total attendance to one of the highest counts in recent Mansfield football history.
To date Mansfield had won 10 consecutive football contests between the two schools. With the exception of a hiccup in 2005, the Tigers had dominated their southern rival since 2003.
This year it was all Waldron. Building momentum started early in the game, and was captained by a veteran lineup, Waldron took the nod 45-0 over an inexperienced Tiger team.
Coach Bentley stated, “Obviously not the result we wanted. I was very proud of our coaches and players and how we handled ourselves through adversity. Six weeks ago, this team didn’t have a Head Coach, and we have 11 kids (some starters) who were not on the team as of July 11th. We have been through a complete program overhaul and schematic changes in a short amount of time. We are not going to panic and abandon ship, we are going to keep a steady course, put the hard hat on, and get back to work.”
The Mansfield Tigers travel to Greenland this Friday. Game time is 7:00pm.