The history-making season came to an end for the Mansfield football team in the state semifinals, and coach Jeff Hulme said he could not be more proud of his team.
Mansfield lost 49-21 to Austin Lake Travis on Saturday in spite of getting off to a very good start.
“I don’t think you could start any better,” Hulme said. “We got a great tackle on the kickoff and then held them to three and out, and then we scored. That’s the way you want to start a game. We were able to get them into some third and longs on the second drive, and then we just couldn’t get them off the field.
“They went down and scored. Then we stalled out a couple of times offensively, and that turned the ball a couple of times, and that didn’t help. But even with that, we had a chance to tie it, but just couldn’t punch it in. We just couldn’t find our rhythm in the second half.”
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Hulme said that his team gave everything it had against Lake Travis throughout the game.
“The effort was there all day,” Hulme said. “We just couldn’t get it done.”
The Tigers finished the season with a record of 12-3 and won the District 8-6A championship. Mansfield had never reached the state semifinals before, and Hulme said that it was a phenomenal year.
“You look back on it, and it was a great year,” Hulme said. “To think that after three games, we’re 1-2, and if somebody told me, ‘Hey coach, don’t worry about it, you’re going to win a district title,’ I would have said, ‘Man, that’s optimistic, but you’re crazy to think that,’” Hulme said. “But the kids never stopped believing in themselves and their teammates.
“We had great team chemistry, we got on a roll in district, and the next thing you know, we’re on the right side of the playoffs, which is tremendous. Hopefully, it was a good building block for the teams to come.”
Hulme said he hopes his team takes away a couple of things from the season as a whole.
“I hope they realize that you can never stop believing,” Hulme said. “Regardless of how you start out, you can always finish strong. I think that is what they did. They finished strong in district and in the playoffs, and getting over a hump that we have not been able to get over the past few years. I would like them to also understand it is the ultimate teams sport. Everybody has got to be there for each other. When they believe in that, good things happen.”