The Mansfield Tigers football team has to be wondering what will happen next.
The Tigers (2-3) have already had their share of adversity this year after opening District 7-5A with losses to South Grand Prairie and Mansfield Timberview. Now Mansfield must try to replace a senior leader who's accounted for 48 percent of its offense and found the end zone twice as many times as the next scorer.
Senior running back Kenneth Burks tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee midway through the third quarter of last week's 36-20 loss to Timberview and will miss the remainder of the season.
"The thing that breaks your heart is that he's a great kid, he worked so hard in the summer and did everything we asked him to do," Mansfield coach Jeff Hulme said. "He put his heart and soul into it and now this comes along."
Burks, who rushed for 1,873 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2011, was well on his way to another stellar season with 907 yards and nine scores on the ground through five games.
"He's a great kid and I think he's going to react the right way with surgery and rehab," Hulme said. "Hopefully he will go on to bigger and better things."
Mansfield will turn to sophomore Julius Lewis (235 yards, three touchdowns) and junior Nick Hall (23 yards) to try to fill the void.
"I think we'll be OK with those two guys," Hulme said. "The thing that hurts you is losing his senior leadership, the playoff experience and those things he brought to the tailback position is what we'll miss the most."
The Tigers have a bye week to figure it out before traveling to undefeated Midlothian (5-0, 2-0) on Oct. 12.
"Coming into the season we had high expectations and we still do," Mansfield safety George Baltimore said. "We're facing some adversity right now, but as a team we're still right there."
Getting it done
Much was expected of Hurst L.D. Bell heading into the season, and the Blue Raiders are living up to the hype.
Bell can move to 5-0 overall for the first time since 2008 with a victory at one-win Irving this week. The Blue Raiders were expected to field a stingy defense this year and they have, allowing just 16 points per game.
Where they have surpassed expectations is on offense as Colson Romano, a first-year starter at quarterback, has led Bell to 429 yards per game. His favorite target, wideout Aaron Dixon, already has 33 catches for 532 yards and nine touchdowns.
Get to know
Aledo running back Jess Anders has rushed for 326 yards and five touchdowns this season and is averaging over 7 yards per carry.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound sophomore is a big play waiting to happen, scoring on runs of 60 and 28 yards.
"He's young but has been a great addition to our team," quarterback Pate Davis said. "He's pretty light, but he runs hard and if he pops you under the chin you feel more than 160 [pounds]."
Private school game of the week
Fort Worth Nolan Catholic (3-2, 1-0) travels to Addison Trinity Christian (3-1, 0-0) on Friday for a huge matchup in TAPPS Division I District 1.
Each team defeated a public school stalwart (Everman and Decatur, respectively) in nondistrict play and would probably be a contender in Class 3A football.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
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