An hour before kickoff, Mansfield coach Daniel Maberry and his mentor, Waco Midway coach Jeff Hulme, shared small talk on the Baylor logo at midfield of McLane Stadium.
A little over three hours later, they shook hands and hugged in almost the same spot. In between, Hulme’s Panthers overwhelmed the Tigers 48-17 in a Class 6A Division II regional round game.
On this night, the advantage went to the mentor.
“They’re well-coached and the kids played hard,” Hulme, the head coach at Mansfield from 2008-15, said afterward. “We were able to force some turnovers and I think that was the big difference in the game.”
Mansfield, which also lost in this round of the playoffs last season, turned it over three times — all leading to touchdowns for the Panthers.
Mansfield scored the first 10 points before Midway had managed a first down. But the Panthers scored the next two touchdowns, the latter coming on one of those turnovers in one the game’s most defining moments.
Midway had fumbled a punt that Mansfield recovered at the Panther’s 12 yard line. But two plays later, Trevius Hodges stripped the ball loose and took it 90 yards the opposite direction to put Midway up 14-10.
Mansfield answered. Aware he had a free play from a defensive offside, Tigers quarterback Shawn Hartsfield went sandlot to find Jackson Gleeson in the end zone for a 34-yard score. It was the second for Baylor commit Gleeson; he had one from 54 yards in the first quarter.
It would be the last lead for Mansfield, though. Midway quarterback and OU commit Tanner Mordecai threw a pair of touchdown passes before halftime to make it 28-17 at the intermission, and Midway would dominate the second half.
Hodges was a major factor in the game. He forced another fumble early in the second half that Midway again turned into points and stopped a Mansfield drive in the red zone early in the fourth quarter with a nice open-field tackle.
Mordecai accounted for 335 yards of offense and six scores in the game — three rushing and three passing.
Avery Chatman lead Mansfield with 100 yards rushing on 10 carries. Jaqulis Coleman added 63 yards and Theo Owens contributed 58 on the ground. Even offensive tackle Willis Patrick got in the box score with a six-yard rush on a hook-and-lateral play late in the second quarter.
Gleeson finished the night with 94 yards receiving and the two scores.