The Mansfield Legacy football team put away Lake Ridge, 49-39, last Friday night to take sole possession of second-place in District 10-5A. The victory moved the Broncos to 6-2 on the season.
It’s only the second time Legacy has started a season so well, with the other in 2013. That team set the bar for the program with 10 wins and a trip to the third round of the playoffs. It has Broncos fans wondering if this 2016 team can be the best in school history.
“It’s hard to say they’re better, but we’re getting there,” said Legacy coach Chris Melson, who has been the head coach for all nine seasons of Broncos football. “They’re both really good teams and I don’t know which is better, but it doesn’t really matter.”
The 2013 team, which had five Division I recruits on its roster, started the season 6-0. Melson said it’s hard to compare teams, but perhaps the biggest difference in this year and 2013 is the experience at quarterback. Terrance Ivory quarterbacked that squad in his only season at the position, while this year’s Broncos have a three-year veteran at the helm in Kendall Catalon.
“These guys are just as talented,” Melson asserted. “We have more speed and more weapons on this team than we’ve ever had overall.”
Another primary difference was expectations. Many people expected the 2013 squad to be good, while this year’s team didn’t garner much in the way of preseason hype. Though not many people saw something special in this group before the year, Melson did.
“I felt and our coaching staff felt like these kids were going to be really competitive and had a chance to be really good,” he said. “That’s why we scheduled Aledo and Crowley and Wichita Falls Rider in non-district.”
Aledo accounted for one of Legacy’s two losses this season, but Melson maintains the team took confidence away from the way they performed in that game.
“I think every team has to go through a process of gaining confidence,” Melson said. “I felt like these kids, once they got on the field and played with those teams, would realize, ‘We might be something.’ They’ve kind of figured that out.”
The Broncos don’t hide the fact their goal is to raise the bar higher than the 2013 accomplishments. Fortunately for Melson, the character of this team has them keeping their eyes on the prize instead of celebrating their achievements.
“We’ve got some football-smart kids, so we come in on Saturdays and watch the film and everyone sees where they could have done a lot better,” he said. “We just try to get better. It’s not about ‘we’re winning, we’re great,’ it’s about being the best we can be.”
There are some people reveling in the Broncos’ success, though – the student body. It’s not uncommon for a successful football season to bleed over into the hallways.
“I think football season can do a lot for morale and the student body in Texas,” Melson said. “Obviously, everyone is excited about our football team because they’re so exciting to watch. These guys are really fun to watch.”
Legacy could sweep its fellow Mansfield ISD rivals with a victory over Summit this Friday at R.L. Anderson. The Broncos then conclude the regular season hosting Red Oak.