Without all-state performers Kennedy Brooks and Saiid Adebo, Mansfield’s chances at another district title looked slim. Brooks (2,120 rushing, 25 TDs) and Adebo are considered day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.
But unsung heroes Avery Chatman, who ran for a game-high 162 yards and three touchdowns, and Jackson Gleeson, who caught a 75-yard touchdown pass, helped Mansfield defeated Arlington Bowie 34-14 on Thursday night at Newsom Stadium.
The Tigers (7-2, 6-0 4-6A) clinch at least a share of the district title, and the No. 1 seed in the Class 6A Division II playoffs.
The Tigers win their second consecutive district title after not winning one the previous 40 years.
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Leading 7-0 at halftime, Mansfield added to its lead when quarterback Shawn Hartsfield hit Gleeson for a 75-yard score with 10:39 in the third.
Bowie (7-2, 4-2) got on the board with a 20-yard pass from Donoven Davenport to Kobe Daniels to get within 14-7 with 4:08 left in the quarter.
In the fourth, Hartsfield threw a 36-yard touchdown to Derique Ryan to make it 21-7 with 8:46 left, and Chatman had touchdown runs of 41 and 18 yards to extend the lead to 34-7 with 3:34 left.
Bowie added a 5-yard run by Camron Gardner with 1:09 left.
Gleeson had four catches for 108 yards and a touchdown, and Hartsfield threw for 151 yards and two scores, despite an ugly first half.
The teams combined for 14 drives and four turnovers with six fumbles (three lost) in the first half, the only score was a 1-yard run by Chatman with 43 seconds until halftime.
Mansfield fumbled on the opening play. Bowie gave it back two plays later.
Bowie’s next drive ended on an interception by Mansfield’s Brian Otwori.
Davenport finished with 212 yards passing and ran for 65 for the Volunteers.