MANSFIELD — Braylon Royal’s 39-yard touchdown reception from Caleb Evans with 3:08 left in the game sent Mansfield to a 14-7 victory over South Grand Prairie in a District 7-5A opener Friday at Newsom Stadium.
Both teams played excellent defense, with Mansfield (2-2, 1-0) only able to manage 193 yards of total offense. South Grand Prairie (2-2, 0-1) had 129.
The Tigers, however, took only five plays to cover the 58 yards in the game-winning drive following a Warriors punt. Running back Julius Lewis contributed an 18-yard run two plays before Evans found Royal streaking down the middle of the field behind the SGP defense.
The Warriors looked to have a decent shot at tying the game when Josh Cabrera returned the ensuing kickoff 54 yards to the Mansfield 49, but a holding penalty put the ball back at the Warriors’ 7.
South Grand Prairie managed two first downs, but the drive ended when Mansfield defensive back J.T. Ibe picked off a pass at the Warriors’ 40 with 1:06 left, and the Tigers were able to run out the clock.
Royal finished with three catches for 55 yards and Evans threw for 91 yards on seven completions and two touchdowns.
Lewis led all rushers with 105 yards on 22 carries.
Mansfield opened the scoring on their second series of the game, driving 61 yards in eight plays. Evans kept the drive alive by converting a third-down pass for 14 yards to Royal to the South Grand Prairie 20.
Four plays later Evans hit Blake Shipman in the corner of the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 2:02 left in the first quarter.
South Grand Prairie answered on the ensuing series when Warriors quarterback Greg Eisworth darted up the middle for a 21-yard touchdown run.
Eisworth, a sophomore, had converted a fourth-and-4 on the previous play with a 13-yard run.
Eisworth and Darrion Williams led South Grand Prairie in rushing with 48 and 42 yards, respectively.
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