Pictured is Austin Oldham with the carry
With the non-conference schedule coming to a close, the Mansfield Jr Tigers had one more 4A school to face off against in Elkins on Thursday, September 10th. Never backing down from a fight against any team, no matter their size, the Jr Tigers strapped up their helmets and prepared for war. Giving it all they had, the Mansfield Jr High Tigers came up short with a 40-16 loss against the Elkins Elks.
The first half of the game was a rough side of the coin for the Tigers as Elkins used onside kicks and multiple speed plays to outmaneuver Mansfield’s defense. Couple that with the Tigers having multiple players with injuries and some even not playing due to that, one would think Mansfield would throw in the towel. Not these Tigers. They smiled and said, “we want more please”.
After a half of Elkins playing the dominant scene, Mansfield stepped back on the field with a point to prove. Quarterback, Jeremy Strozier, waited until the last second on multiple plays for his receivers to create separation and telegraphed sweet passes to them for some big gains. Strozier took some shots by doing so, but receivers Tyler Turnipseed and Austin Oldham made sure it wasn’t for nothing as they played a game of “ankles” with the Elks defense. Strozier completed ten passes for 124 yards in the game averaging 12.4 yards per pass. Turnipseed caught six passes for 95 yards while Oldham pulled in three for 25 yards. Both receivers each caught Mansfields two-point conversion passes. Trey Powell also grabbed a pass for 4 yards. The Tigers offense wasn’t just the passing though. Mansfield scores came off of Strozier and Powell’s run game. Strozier had eight rushed for 28 yards and a TD and Powell followed that up with six rushed for 20 yards and a touchdown.
Although the Tigers defense was caught off guard by big plays by the Elks, they did their fair share of going toe to toe with the bigger faster Elks. The Tigers D Line played stout forcing Elkins to run the ball to the parameter. Dakota Deer, Dakota Langford, Turner Wright, Sammy Sellers, Trey Vaughn, and Eli Garner took turns at blowing up any plans Elkins had of rushing the ball up the middle. Once Mansfield figured out their angles to the antlers off the Elks speed, it was game on. Zach Hayslip and Toby Towe got into the defensive mix making Elkins receivers eat big hits if they dared to catch the ball. Strozier, Turnipseed, Powell, and Oldham hunted down every Elks ball carrier and took then down with solid “Buck Shots”. Raine Hecox shut down a go-ahead touchdown for the Elks when she scrapped her way to the ball just in time to swat it away. Mansfield held Elkins scoreless in the second half showing that the Jr Tigers defense may be down in a game, but never out.
With the non-conference schedule now over, the Jr Tigers will take a week off to heal and prepare for conference play. Mansfield’s bye week for players to get healthy couldn’t come at a better time either as the Tigers have been banged up playing a non-conference schedule against 4A schools. If one thing can be taken into aspect during their rough run though, it’s that Mansfield’s Jr High team has the skill, tenacity, and attitude to keep up with anyone. The Jr Tigers will host the West Fork Tigers on September 24th to start off their 2020 conference play.