ARLINGTON, Texas -- If there was ever a time for a statement victory for Mansfield, it was Saturday night. Late Saturday night.
Mansfield concluded a Cowboys Stadium postseason quadruple-header with an impressive 48-24 victory over Denton Guyer in a Class 5A Division II Region I area-round playoff.
Credit Mansfield’s win to its stellar defensive play, as its front seven had one of its best games of the year. The Tigers sacked Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard nine times and recorded two interceptions.
Take away a 95-yard touchdown run by Sebastian Williams and a 68-yard pass from Heard to Williams and Mansfield held Guyer to 125 total yards.
“We have a really good defensive line, and you can’t put all your attention to just one player,” said senior defensive end Mouf Adebo, who had three sacks and a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter. “We never take any plays off. That’s our motto. We’ve got to be relentless.”
Mansfield’s defense set up its offense, and junior running back Kenneth Burks led the way for the Tigers. He rushed 28 times for 146 yards and scored three times in the second half.
Mansfield finished with more rushing yards (294) than Guyer had total yards (288).
“This is how we play every game,” Burks said. “We play hard and we play fast. We believe that teams can’t hang with us if we pound the ball. We train to keep on pounding and to keep on playing.”
Mansfield jumped on the board first with 3:34 left in the opening quarter. Fullback Chad Whitener bulled his way into the end zone on a 2-yard run. Mansfield took a 14-0 lead in the quarter when quarterback Jerod Evans connected with receiver Lance Evans on a 97-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Guyer cut the lead to 14-10 just before halftime when Josh King made a 38-yard field goal. The try was made possible because of a blocked punt by Dominic Ramacher with two seconds left in the half.
From there, Mansfield dominated on both sides of the ball, outscoring Guyer 34-14 in the second half. Mansfield scored the first three touchdowns of the third quarter -- an 8-yard run by Burks, Adebo’s interception return and a 60-yard run by Evans.
Mansfield (11-1) will face Abilene in next week’s regional semifinal round. Abilene beat El Paso Montwood, 35-18, in an area-round game. Guyer finished its season 8-4.