In a matchup of district unbeatens, Mansfield leaned heavily on its running game Friday night.
And the backfield didn’t disappoint. Theo Owens scored twice on 1-yard runs in the fourth quarter as Mansfield outscored the Warriors 13-0 in the final frame for a 27-16 victory against Martin at Newsom Stadium.
Martin (5-1, 2-1) was without Juma Otoviano in the second half. The senior quarterback rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the first half but didn’t return for the second half. He missed parts of two series in the first quarter after appearing to suffer a non-contact injury.
Owens’ first score came with 10:29 remaining in the fourth quarter and eased Mansfield (5-1, 3-0 in District 4-6A) ahead 20-16 – the Tigers’ first lead of the game. A two-point run attempt after the score failed.
That touchdown capped a 12-play, 84-yard drive – all runs – that began with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Avery Chatman, who scored on a 20-yard run in the second quarter, was the workhorse for the two fourth-quarter scoring drives and finished with 193 yards on 26 carries.
Mansfield then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to regain possession at the Martin 34. This time, the Tigers mixed in a pass. The drive went six plays, including a 20-yard reception by Jack Gleeson for a first down at the 4. Owens scored again two plays later to make it 27-16.
The Tigers, who finished with 49 rushes for 306 yards and three scores, sputtered early. Mansfield didn’t get its first first down until early in the second quarter. The Tigers also turned it over on downs twice in the first half.
Otoviano returned the opening kickoff 48 yards to the Tigers 40. His 21-yard run on the fifth play of the drive gave Martin a first down at the 3. But Martin lost a fumble on the next play.
Otoviano suffered his injury on the second Martin series but returned in the second quarter, scoring on runs of 1 and 68 yards as the Warriors built a 16-7 lead.
Mansfield closed the gap on a kickoff return touchdown following Otoviano’s second TD. T.J. Jones fielded the kick near the goal line and pitched to teammate Cam’Ron Jones at the Mansfield 2. Jones found a lane down the right sideline and sprinted 98 yards for the score. His long return cut the Martin lead to 16-14 with 2:51 remaining in the second quarter.
Mansfield scored the final 20 points of the game.