MANSFIELD — Mansfield Senior’s defense passed its biggest test of the season last week, but the celebration was short-lived.
The Tygers will have their hands full again Friday when West Holmes invades Arlin Field for the highly-anticipated Ohio Cardinal Conference opener.
The Knights (3-0) are coming off a 55-20 shellacking of Orrville and are averaging 43.3 points a game through the first three weeks of the season. Meanwhile, Mansfield Senior (3-0) has given up just 35 points in three games after last week’s 21-17 win at North Canton Hoover — and two touchdowns have come on kickoff returns.
“Our defensive staff does a great job of preparing us and putting us in unbelievable positions to be successful,” Senior High coach Chioke Bradley said after a Week 1 win over Norwalk. “Then our guys sprinkle a little Tyger pride on it and they just go hard.
"That’s what we’ve been doing since I’ve been here.”
In three games, Mansfield Senior has allowed 492 yards of total offense and forced seven turnovers. Senior High’s pass defense has been especially stingy, allowing just 167 yards through the air. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 44 percent of their passes (24-55) and thrown three interceptions.
In last week’s win at Hoover, Senior High overcame a 17-7 halftime deficit. The Tygers pitched a second-half shutout.
“Coach Bradley always says you’ve got to know how to play against adversity,” said safety Aveon Grose, who had a team-high 14 tackles.
West Holmes (3-0) at Mansfield Senior (3-0): The Knights come to town with one of the most prolific offenses in all of north central Ohio. West Holmes piled up 474 yards of total offense in last week’s 55-20 win over Orrville. Quarterback Noah Clark completed 15 of 24 passes for 358 yards and five touchdowns while Sam Williams-Dixon accounted for 241 yards of total offense and scored three touchdowns. Garrett Eastep had four catches for 106 yards and a score, while Tucker Kaufman had four catches for 82 yards and two TDs. The intercepted five passes and forced six turnovers against Orrville.
Mansfield Senior’s Myles Bradley had a huge night at North Canton Hoover. The senior receiver caught four passes for 155 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns, including what proved to be the game-winner on a 60 yard pass from Amarr Davis. Quarterback Brock Hill completed 8 of 12 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80 yarder to Bradley.
The only chink in the Tygers' armor has been kickoff coverage. Senior High has allowed a kick return for a TD in each of the last two games.
Mansfield Senior's game is a Friday Night Game of the Week and will be live-streamed on Richland Source's Facebook page.
Bellevue (2-1) at Clear Fork (2-1): Bellevue is riding high after last week’s 45-40 win over Shelby. Deegan Horn sealed the victory with an interception in the end zone with 37 seconds remaining. Will Hager rushed for two touchdowns and caught touchdown passes of 64 and 36 yards in the fourth quarter. Bellevue threw for 204 yards and rushed for 199 yards. Horn threw for three TDs and rushed for another.
The Colts stunned backyard rival Lexington 35-28 in overtime last week, overcoming a 28-6 deficit. Quarterback Victor Skoog led the comeback, completing 17 of 26 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns. Skoog 18 yard scoring strike to Milo Burgholder in overtime proved to be the game-winner. Burgholder hauled in a 16 yard touchdown pass from Skoog top jump-start Clear Fork’s comeback early in the third quarter. Freshman receiver Jay Jackson had six catches for 79 yards, including a 46 yard touchdown in the first half. Luke Schlosser had a 14 yard TD catch and Trystyn Robison scored on an 8 yard run in the third.
Clear Fork's game against Bellevue is a Friday Night Game of the Week and will be live-streamed on Richland Source's Facebook page.
Shelby (2-1) at Ontario (1-2): The Whippets will try to rebound from last week’s disheartening loss to Bellevue. Quarterback Marshall Shepherd completed 32 of 52 passes for 476 yards and six touchdowns, but Shelby managed only 22 yards on the ground. Shepherd has thrown for 1,228 yards and 15 touchdowns through three games. Receiver Blaine Bowman had another big night, hauling in four touchdown passes against Bellevue. The Whippets were outscored 20-6 in the fourth quarter and saw their late comeback bid thwarted with an interception in the end zone with 37 seconds left.
Ontario picked up its first win of the season last week, knocking off Smithville 21-14. The Warriors were originally scheduled to play Madison, but that game was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Madison program. Sophomore running back Chase Studer ran for a pair of touchdowns, including a 62 yarder in the first half. Drew Yetter added a rushing touchdown for the Warriors. Linebacker Drew Barnes leads the defense with 20 tackles, while defensive lineman Bralen Boone ranked among the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference leaders with four sacks.
River Valley (3-0) at Galion (2-1): The Viking remained unbeaten with a 35-21 win over Highland. Quarterback Cayden Shidone completed 23 of 39 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns and has thrown for 845 yards on the year. River Valley forced a fumble deep in its own territory late in the first half and turned it into a momentum-swinging scoring drive for a 20-14 halftime lead. Karson Lang has 19 catches for 295 yards and a touchdown, while Shidone and Will Garrison have each run for four scores. Garrison is tied for the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference lead with 37 tackles.
The Tigers blanked Upper Sandusky 31-0 last week, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams. Cooper Kent started at quarterback and completed 8 of 13 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. Athletic senior Hanif Donaldson returned under center in the second half, but did most of his damage on the ground. He is the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference’s leading rusher with 407 yards on 61 carries. Donaldson returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown, while defensive back Carson Frankhouse returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown.
Crestview (3-0) at Western Reserve (3-0): The Cougars boast one of north central Ohio’s most prolific offenses. Crestview is averaging 46.7 points a game after last week’s 41-21 win over previously unbeaten East Knox. Junior quarterback Hayden Kuhn has completed 17 of 27 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception in his first year under center. Senior running back Connor Morse has rushed for 384 yards and a whopping nine touchdowns on 47 carries. Morse lead the defense with 31 tackles, including 13 solo stops. Owen Barker has four sacks, while Mason Ringler has three sacks. The Cougars have scored two defensive touchdowns on the season after Adison Reymer returned a fumble 52 yards for a touchdown against East Knox.
The Roughriders improved to 3-0 with a 14-0 win over Edison. Western Reserve has allowed just 22 points in three games and is 3-0 for the first time since 2010. Quarterback Jude Muenz completed 7 of 12 passes for 66 yards and tossed a 5 yard touchdown to Jacob Jarrett in the third quarter. Muenz also rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.