The Mansfield football team advanced to the state quarterfinals with a victory over Arlington Lamar on Saturday, and coach Jeff Hulme said he feels like his team is continuing to show improvement as the playoffs progress.
The Tigers will square off with Denton Guyer at a time and location to be determined, and Hulme said that he expects the Wildcats to bring a strong running game from the quarterback position.
“They have a great history, and we are going to have our work cut out for us,” Hulme said. “They are a tremendous running team. I think it is going to a very physical game. The quarterback runs the ball well, but they have two backs that show great speed. They are clearly committed to the run this year, so it should be a very physical and good game.”
Mansfield defeated Lamar by a score of 34-29 on Saturday, and Hulme said his team looked pretty good all the way around.
“I thought the offense played really well, and I thought we were clicking,” Hulme said. “We had a couple of big stops there and our defense played very well. They played really lights out for the last seven or eight minutes of the game.”
Kennedy Brooks rushed for 267 yards and four touchdowns in the game to lead the way offensively for the Tigers, and Mansfield had a defensive player come up with a huge play to help lift them to the fourth round of the postseason.
“Jaelon Rainey stepped up for us in a big way,” Hulme said. “He was injured earlier in the year and missed about three or four games, but he has come back and made a great impact on our defense. He had a pick six in the fourth quarter, which was the deciding factor in the game. His presence out there is tremendous. I thought our defensive line also did a great job of putting pressure on [Shane] Buechele.”
Rainey had a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:56 to play in the fourth quarter.
Hulme said that one thing he has enjoyed this season is watching his team continue to make progress each and every game, and said that last week was no exception to that trend.
“It absolutely was, because the competition gets better and better,” Hulme said. “You have to improve, and if you don’t, you’re going home. We’ll certainly have to have that this week against Denton Guyer, because they are a tremendous team.”