Desoto quarterback Shun’Darion Ward threw two touchdowns and rushed for another as the Eagles sloshed past Mansfield, 26-6, Friday night at Eagle Stadium.
Heavy rains turned the game sloppy, with 14 fumbles and 13 punts. Mansfield (1-5 for the season, 0-3 in District 7-6A) fumbled nine times, losing the ball twice, while DeSoto (5-1, 2-1) lost one of five fumbles. The Tigers had more punts than pass attempts, 8-6, and committed nine penalties for 90 yards.
The storm was worse in the first half. The first four offensive series – two for each team – featured three-downs-and-a-punt. The initial first down of the game didn’t come until the 19th play of the game. Mansfield didn’t complete a pass until the 9:23 mark in the third quarter and only completed two for seven yards for the entire game. Even when the teams combined to score three TDs in the second quarter, all three PAT attempts failed.
Few fans sat through the second half.
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Ward tossed his TD passes in the second quarter, helping the Eagles to a 12-6 halftime lead. DeSoto scored the game’s first points on a 13-yard TD pass from Ward to Kenneth Salter with 11:15 in the second quarter. Ward connected with Lawrence Arnold on a four-yard TD with 2:12 remaining in the first half. Both TD passes were set up by Mansfield fumbles.
Ward’s two TD throws sandwiched Mansfield’s only score, a 75-yard run by Tiger quarterback Hunt Young on the first play from scrimmage after Salter’s TD. In the third quarter, Ward added a two-yard TD run.
Game was over when: When Ward scored his rushing touchdown over left tackle midway through the third quarter, it gave the Eagles a 19-6 lead. The way DeSoto defense was playing, there was no way the Tigers were going to rally.
Play of the game: The TD run of Mansfield’s Young was longer, but the 27-yard TD that ended the scoring was a beauty. Desoto RB Rolston White broke several tackles, then snuck into the left corner of the end zone. It came with 2:11 left in the third quarter.
Offensive player of the game: If you don’t like the work of QB Ward, consider RB White. White gained 109 yards rushing on 12 carries, including his TD.
Defensive player of the game: Too hard to pick out just one player. Give the nod to the entire Eagles defense, which just shut down the Tigers. Mansfield gained 72 yards on the last three plays of the game, plus another 75 on Young’s TD run. Take those plays away and the Tigers gained 41 yards in 35 plays.
Unsung hero of the game: Tyson Alexander was the workhorse for the Eagles. He rushed the ball more times than anyone else in the game (15) and gained 64 yards. Another unsung hero is the DeSoto coach who came up with the idea of the Eagles changing uniforms at halftime. DeSoto players, who had started the game wearing black, stayed dry for most of the third quarter in their clean green uniforms. Unfortunately, the rain started coming down hard again in the fourth quarter.
What’s next? District 7-6A play continues with both teams playing on Friday, Oct. 19. DeSoto travels to the Gopher-Warrior Bowl to play Grand Prairie at 7 p.m. Mansfield will host Waxahachie at Vernon Newsome Stadium at 7:30 p.m.