Over the past few seasons Mansfield Legacy has built a solid football foundation.
Jenks has already built a skyscraper.
Legacy made a game of it early, but a left knee injury to star safety/quarterback Jalen Catalon took the wind out of the Broncos sails in a 35-14 loss Friday night at Allan Trimble Stadium.
Catalon initially injured the knee at safety making a tackle on a long Jenks pass play. The drive ended with a Ian Corwin to Dylan O’Keefe 2-yard scoring pass to tie the game at 14 with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.
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On the Broncos ensuing series, Catalon was flushed from the pocket and picked up nine yards, but went down without contact.
“I have to get an MRI tomorrow to see what it is,” said Catalon, who started the second half at quarterback, but played two series before finishing the night on crutches. “They’re hoping it’s just a hyperextended knee or a sprained knee, but I should be good. I should be back in no time.”
Jenks has 16 state titles under its belt, 13 in the last 22 years, but was challenged early by the Broncos.
The Trojans took the opening kick 80 yards in 12 plays capped by an Ian Corwin to Blake Pitcock 5 yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
Legacy answered immediately. Andrew Smith returned the kickoff 26 yards to the Broncos 40 followed by a 16-yard completion from Catalon to Jorden Melson for a first down at the Jenks 44.
Broncos running back Kaleb King tied the score at 7 with a 10-yard TD run with 6:35 left in the first quarter.
Legacy’s Malachi Kellough force a bad Jenks punt on the next series and the Broncos took over at the Trojans 28. Three plays later Catalon darted around right end from 13 yards out for a 14-7 lead with 3:10 left in the first quarter.
“It’s tough,” said Legacy coach Chris Melson, whose team has made playoff runs the past four seasons, but no state title. “I thinks Jalen is the best player in Texas and if he’s not on the field then it affects you.”
Without Catalon the Broncos were shaky on both sides of the ball.
Legacy (0-1) was unable to mount any kind of offense in the second half while Jenks (2-0) scored three third quarter touchdowns to put the game out of reach.
The Broncos defense, which is supposed to be the strength of the team, allowed 531 total yards. Corwin was sharp for Jenks completing 18-of-25 passes for 320 yards.
“It was our first game and it showed,” said Melson. “We have some kids that have never played on a Friday night and to play a team like Jenks is tough.”
King was a bright spot for the Broncos rushing 16 times for 110 yards and receiver Ife Adeyi caught three passes for 80 yards.
Julian Clarke had seven catches for 167 yards, including a 56-yard score for Jenks.
“I think that Jenks is a solid football team,” said Melson. “They’ll have a chance to win all of their games so it was a great test for us, but we sure wish we could have been at our strength.”