DUNCANVILLE — Mansfield linebacker Justin Middleton had one pick-six and defensive back J.T. Ibe another, sparking the Tigers to a 35-24 District 7-5A win over Duncanville on Friday night.
The win keeps the Tigers (4-3, 3-1) firmly in second place with three district games remaining.
The road doesn’t get any easier for Duncanville, now sitting on the outside of the playoff window looking in.
Middleton’s second interception, in the waning seconds of the first half, came after Duncanville’s defense withstood another penetration inside the 20-yard line by Mansfield.
This time, kicker Nathan McBride just missed a 37-yard attempt that would have given the Tigers a lead with 42 seconds remaining in the first half.
Instead, Duncanville (4-3, 2-2) took over with the score tied 7-7 and opted to push the envelope for a late score through the air.
Middleton broke right on a pass by quarterback Jeremiah Drake, snatched the ball without breaking stride and rumbled 26 yards to the right pylon for the score.
Duncanville forced three turnovers in the first half but couldn’t get anything consistently going on offense.
That might have been due to the pressure that Mansfield brought on both Duncanville quarterbacks. The Tigers forced five turnovers.
After Mansfield punted to open the second half, Ibe picked off another Drake pass and ran into the end zone untouched to give the Tigers a 21-7 lead.
Duncanville never seriously threatened again, although the Panthers made things interesting with 14 fourth-quarter points.
Mansfield running back Julius Lewis had 34 carries for 202 yards, 105 of them in the first half, and two touchdown runs.
The Tigers rolled up 334 yards of offense.
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