MANSFIELD — If Mansfield or Midlothian were to have any hopes of claiming one of the four playoff berths in District 7-5A, a victory on Thursday night was a must.
Two Nathan McBride fourth-quarter field goals helped keep Mansfield’s playoff hopes alive as the Tigers defeated Midlothian 19-7 at Newsom Stadium.
Both teams must still face three of the four district leaders, but the Tigers (3-3, 2-1 in 7-5A) put themselves in a position to determine their own fate after McBride hit from 26 and 35 yards, providing all of the scoring in the second half.
Mansfield led 13-7 at the half, but Midlothian (3-3, 1-2) had two defensive stands in the first quarter to keep Mansfield from breaking the game open.
Tigers return man Nick Hall returned the opening kickoff 54 yards to the Midlothian 33-yard line. Four plays later, Tigers quarterback Caleb Evans bulled in from a yard out to give Mansfield a 6-0 lead.
Midlothian gambled on its first series, going for a fourth-and-one, but the Mansfield defense stuffed the Midlothian attempt for no gain and took over at the Panthers’ 25.
Mansfield took a 13-0 lead when running back Julius Lewis darted in from 12 yards out with 6:43 left in the first half. Linebacker Noble Leake set up the score by recovering a Midlothian fumble at the Mansfield 9 and returning it 47 yards to the Panthers’ 44.
Lewis led Mansfield with 173 yards rushing on 23 carries.
Midlothian’s only score came with 1:46 left in the first half when quarterback Zach Humphreys ran a zone read that fooled the Mansfield defense, and he was able to trot in from 33 yards out to cut the lead to 13-7.
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