The Mansfield football team’s historic run continued on Saturday with a 44-7 victory over Denton Guyer High School and the school’s first-ever state championship in the sport of football is one step closer to reality.
The Tigers will take on the always potent Austin Lake Travis at Waco ISD Stadium at 2 p.m. Saturday, and coach Hulme said that as tough as Lake Travis has proven to be in recent years, Mansfield will look inward to begin preparation for the biggest game in school history.
“It starts with us,” Hulme said. “We’ve got to be ready to go. We’ve got to show up that first quarter and we have to play a physical game, because that is the kind of team they are. We also have to control the clock and limit their offensive touches and see what we can do.”
Kennedy Brooks rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns and Devon Smith added two more touchdowns as Mansfield defeated Denton Guyer soundly last week to advance to the state semifinals.
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Mansfield did trail the game 7-0 in the first quarter, but Hulme said his team settled down quickly.
“Once we got through the first quarter, I thought it went very well,” Hulme said. “I think we got rid of some pent up energy. We were a little jittery at first, and I think that was both teams. I think there were four turnovers in the first quarter alone. We had fumbles on back-to-back series, but the good thing is our defense stepped up and they were not able to capitalize on either one of those.
“Once we gave up that opening-drive touchdown, the defense clamped down and the offense got on track, and we were able to throw the ball effectively and Kennedy had another big game.”
Hulme said that while his team is playing at a very high level at the moment, he still believes there is some room for improvement.
“If we can start out good the next game and have a strong first quarter, I think that would be great,” Hulme said. “The higher you go, you cannot start out the way we did. We can’t start out that way against Lake Travis. You’ve got to be firing on all cylinders from the get-go. That’s what we’re going to work on this week in practice, and I think the kids are up to it. They are excited, so it should be fun.”
Hulme said he had a couple of things to say to his team following the state quarterfinals victory over Guyer on Saturday afternoon.
“We just told them how proud we were of them, number one,” Hulme said. “Every single one of them has put their heart and soul into it, whether they are a starter or not. Everybody is out there practicing and getting better. Number two is just to enjoy the moment – there are only four teams left in our division, so enjoy it.”