No. 10 Mansfield swarms Minnechaug

WILBRAHAM, Mass. -- Mansfield head coach Mike Redding entered Friday night’s game against Minnechaug Regional worried about Minnechaug’s no-huddle offense.

He left the game impressed with his own offense.

The Hornets beat down the Minnechaug, 46-13, and showed off a very balanced attack. Just when it seemed as if the hosting Falcons could stop No. 10 Mansfield’s offense, the Hornets (1-1) used other options to gain yardage.

Mansfield’s Jamel Marshal started the game hot, and finished with 118 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns.

“If we block well, we’re going to get a good run,” Redding said about Marshal. “But if we don’t block well, we’re still going to get a big run because he turns nothing into something.”

“I didn’t get to play last week so I wanted to come in and prove myself,” said Marshal. “I wanted to get a lot of yards -- and I did that -- but I wanted to get the win obviously.”

In the first quarter, Marshal carried the offense and Minnechaug (1-1) began to key in on him. Then, Redding showed off his passing attack.

Quarterback George Busharis completed 8 of 12 passes for 184 yards in the game. Although he did throw an interception in the first half, he also had two touchdown passes to Jeff Hill.

“His height is such a nice advantage,” Redding said about Hill. “You can just try and throw it up to him and he’s probably faster than he looks.”

Hill finished with two catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns but his game didn’t stop on offense. He also played well in the secondary and intercepted Minnechaug’s Greg Heineman in the second quarter.

For Minnechaug’s no-huddle offense, it was a tough night. Heineman completed 7 of 11 passes for 146 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Falcons fullback Mike Mercandante racked up 44 yards on nine carries and three catches for 55 yards.

Minnechaug head coach Steve Allosso tried to utilize Mercandante on the screen pass, but the Mansfield defense caught on.

“It was a frustrating game for me because I didn’t think they were as good as I thought they would be,” said Allosso. “The mistakes we had were the mistakes that I didn’t think we were going to make — they were ones we are in control of.”

Mansfield’s offense started in rhythm and stayed that way throughout.

Junior wingback Blayne Kelley-Taylor broke out before the first unit was taken off the field, scoring twice in the third quarter. Kelley-Taylor complemented Marshal and the Hornets’ passing game. He finished the game with eight carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns.