Mansfield High had outplayed Mansfield Summit for the most part on Friday night at Newsom Stadium.
But two huge plays late rallied the Jaguars, who came away with a 28-21 victory over crosstown rival Mansfield in the District 7-6A opener for both schools.
With the Tigers leading 21-14 and facing a fourth-and-goal from the Summit 1-yard line, a fumble was picked up by Jaguars’ linebacker and Navy commit, Xavier Toliver, who raced 99 yards for the score.
Instead of a 28-14 Mansfield lead, the game was tied at 21 with 11:11 left to play.
“I saw the ball when it popped out and I knew I had to make a play,” said Toliver, who had to beat one defender 30 yards from the goal line. “I saw him coming on the big scoreboard screen so I made a move and finished the play.”
Summit (4-0, 1-0) forced Mansfield (1-3, 0-1) to punt on the Tigers ensuing series. Four plays later Jags’ quarterback Kainen McKinney hit Brendan Sirls with a 69-yard scoring pass to take a 28-21 lead with 6:54remaining.
Mansfield had two possessions after that, but lost the ball on downs at the Summit 20 on one and Toliver sealed the win with an interception at the Summit 37 on the other, and the Jags were able to run out the clock.
“We knew we had to get two more stops,” said Toliver. “Coach [Channon] Hall tells us every day to finish, finish, finish, finish, finish and that’s what we did.”
Mansfield had taken a 21-7 lead on a Donerio Davenport 1-yard run with 8:41 left in the third quarter. Davenport, who led all rushers with 112 yards on 23 carries, leaped over the entire line to get in the end zone.
Summit cut the lead to 21-14 on an 11-yard TD run by running back Jaydon Lott three minutes later.
It was Lott’s second TD of the game. The junior had scored on a 4-yard reception from McKinney to open the scoring for the Jaguars midway through the second quarter.
Mansfield led 14-7 at the half on the strength of two Hunt Young scoring passes. The first was a 19-yarder to Jacob Psutka that was set up by runs of 17 and 16 yards by Davenport.
The second came with just 27 seconds left in the half. Young found Dameon Gomes, who was wide open in the right corner of the end zone, for a 21-yard score.
“We got outplayed,” said Summit coach Channon Hall, whose team was outgained 324-245 in total yards. “But you have kids that have been working for a long time, kids that have bought in, and kids that kept fighting and kept believing and made some plays.”
In addition to the two scoring passes, McKinney completed 12 of 22 throws for 184 yards. Sirls caught four passes for an even 100 yards.
“Any win you get in this district, you’d better feel good,” said Hall. “We’ll cry and sulk about how bad we played, but the bottom line is that we’ll take it.”