By Megan Hecox
This is it. This Friday Nights football match-up between two undefeated 6-0 teams will determine who the King of the Mountain really is. The Mansfield Tigers will step into Bearcat territory as they take it to the field against Booneville. The Tigers and Bearcats have both dominated their opponents this season and so far, Booneville has racked up a total of 254 points while Mansfield is right on their heels with a total of 206 points. Booneville’s highest amount of points came from their game against Greenland where the final score was 62-34. Mansfield’s highest point tally came from their game against Lavaca where the final was 47-0.
It’s no secret that when people hear that Mansfield is playing against Booneville this week, they shrug their shoulders and shake their heads and mumble good luck. Yes, Booneville is good. They are really good. But this season, the Mansfield Tigers have something awe-inspiring. Mansfield Sr High Coach, Craig Bentley, gave us his outlook on how he handles the nay-sayers. “I think to be in this profession you have to have thick skin and not take anything too personal. Most importantly, put all of your focus on your players and helping them succeed on and off the field and to never lose faith in what you’re doing or how you’re doing it. I would also say its important to never be too prideful. Sometimes there may be something that needs to be changed or looked at differently. Sometimes the kids are right. Sometimes the parents are right. And sometimes the coaches are right but at all times we must work together.”
No matter anyone else’s opinion, one thing is for sure. The Mansfield Tigers are a team to keep your eye on now and in the future. They are the perfect example of the underdog story. That no matter how many times you get knocked off of your horse, you get right back on it and keep going. The Tigers are excited that their hard work is finally paying off in the win column. “We have worked so hard over the last two years and have made so many strides in this program in so many different ways but in the end, you want that to pay off with some wins,” Coach Bentley says.
It may seem like at times, its all work and no play. The boys, parents, and coaches put in long hours day in and day out. The boys put their minds and bodies out there to get beat up and trampled on for the love of the game. But if there is one thing that Coach Bentley wants these boys to walk away with at the end of the season, it’s this. “I want our kids to walk away knowing that they became better young men by being a part of our program. That the things they have learned by being in our program will help them in becoming great fathers, husbands, and adults.”
This Friday, October 12th, jump in the spirit line and follow the Mansfield Tigers as they head to Booneville with the game starting at 7 pm. Be there or be square!