MANSFIELD — On the positive side, Mansfield High football coach Mike Redding will present the virtues of having scored three touchdowns over a five-minute span late in the third quarter.
But that was not the only Hornets’ highlight.
After surrendering a touchdown to Oliver Ames on the Tigers’ first offensive series of the Hockomock League game Friday at Alumni Field the Hornets did not allow another point.
The Hornets dismissed Tiger scoring bids on four of their next six offensive sets that crossed into Mansfield territory.
Cincere Gill ran for 155 yards while Vinnie Holmes and Nick Marciano both rambled lengthy distances for touchdowns and quarterack Jack Moussette and Danny Rapoza combined skills for a 70-yard aerial TD.
Those all added up to a decisive fifth victory of the season for Mansfield High in a 36-6 conquest of the Tigers, placing the Hornets well in position to host an MIAA playoff game and secure the Kelley-Rex Division title in the Hockomock League.
But Redding has plenty of game film to review with the Hornets, who were flagged for 13 penalties resulting in 100 lost yards while two TDs were nullified by penalties. Mansfield also surrendered first downs to OA not once, but twice on fourth-and-1 situations, did not have a takeaway, and yielded a 54-yard kickoff return to the Tigers.
“They (OA) came to play and they can run the football,” Redding said of the Tigers senior fullback Nathan Cabral, who amassed 116 yards on the ground. “We’ve played six games now and they ran the ball against us better than anybody, including LaSalle (of Cincinnati), BC High, KP — they did some good stuff.”
It was merely a 7-6 margin for Mansfield — after OA botched the potential game-tying conversion play upon completion of an 80-yard, 13-play series that consumed 7:23 of the clock.
Fortunately, Mansfield has explosiveness on offense — scoring on three consecutive drives, of 69, 57 and 66 yards late in the second quarter to assume a 28-6 lead by intermission.
Gill, who had a 69-yard TD romp whistled back on the Hornets’ second play of its third series in the game, rushed for 129 yards in the first half (155 overall), including an 18-yard TD run that built a 21-6 lead.
Holmes, who had a 63-yard TD nullified by a flag on Mansfield’s first play of the second half, romped 52 yards three plays into the Hornets’ first offensive set with a route created by the blocking of senior captain and right tackle Jason Comeau for the go-ahead TD.
Mike DeBolt bolted nine yards for the Hornets’ second TD of the game and the second of his four successful conversion kicks gave Mansfield a 14-6 lead five minutes into the second quarter.
Three plays into the Hornets’ third series of the second quarter, Rapoza hauled in a toss from Moussette over the middle and then barged his way through the OA defensive secondary and then down the right sideline to complete a 70-yard scoring strike.
Then Marciano finished off the Hornets’ second half opening series by scoring from 32 yards out, Mansfield driving 63 yards on eight plays for their fifth TD.
“They got us on our heels, we don’t see that offense and we don’t get the look in practice,” Redding said of OA presenting the Hornets a true challenge. “We bent but didn’t break, we kept them out of the end zone. Offensively, we’re explosive and we can break a long one, but that’s our third game with double-digit penalties. Just so many self-inflicted wounds!”