Tyger second-half rally drops Presidents
Mansfield Senior 14, Marion Harding 13
MANSFIELD -- The Mansfield Senior Tygers scored a pair of second-half touchdowns, rallying from a 13-0 halftime deficit to defeat the Marion Harding Presidents 14-13 in a key Ohio Heartland Conference matchup Friday at Arlin Field in Mansfield.
The comeback itself was amazing, given the lack of success Mansfield Senior (6-2, 4-0) had in the first half as well as the strength of the Marion Harding (6-2, 3-1) offense and defense. The Presidents had 88 yards rushing and passing in the first half, and held the Tygers to just 57 yards of total offense. Harding limited Mansfield Senior to just five minutes, 15 seconds of possession time in the first half.
Harding scored on its first drive, going 82 yards on nine plays, as Duncan Elliott hit a 32-yard field goal with 6:26 left in the first quarter. After Mansfield Senior went three-and-out on its first drive, the Presidents again scored, driving 70 yards on 14 plays and finishing it off with a Jerrod Reese three-yard run 53 seconds into the second quarter.
Elliott added another field goal from 25 yards away with 36 seconds left in the period to give Harding its 13-point halftime advantage. The Presidents kept Senior High frustrated in its first two drives of the third quarter, holding the Tygers to just seven yards of offense in those two possessions.
But the Tygers broke out of their slump on their next possession, driving 72 yards on seven plays. Mansfield Senior closed out the possession when sophomore Jamario O'Neal ran around the right side and scored from 33 yards out.
Marion Harding took over and drove inside Tyger territory again on their next possession, but on fourth down and four at the Senior High 29, Harding tailback Jerrod Reece was stopped just short of a first down, and the Tygers took over. Mansfield Senior, in turn, drove deep into Harding territory, but were also stopped on fourth down when defensive back Johnnie Jackson intercepted Tyger quarterback Andrew Molyet at the Presidents' five.
But Marion Harding was pinned to far inside their own territory, and a inspired Tyger defense allowed a net of just one yard rushing on three Reece rushing attempts, forcing a punt. Harding's David Meginness sent a high kick to the President 46-yard line, but O'Neal brought it back 12 yards to the 34, setting up Senior High with its best field position of the evening.
The Tygers moved the ball all the way to the Harding four, where they had first-and-goal, but the Harding defense rose up, denying Mansfield Senior the end zone. Tailback David Phillips was stopped by Chase Curren and Jarrett Woods after a two-yard gain on first down, Leeo Miller got nothing on second down thanks to Woods and Brad Bury, and Phillips gained just one yard before being bowled back by Woods and Chase Huddle.
But after a time out, the Tygers finally dented the end zone, as Miller broke the plane of the goal on fourth down with 3:03 to play despite another solid Harding defensive charge. Hollister Histed's extra point gave Senior High its first lead of the game.
Marion Harding's Kevin Meginness took the ensuing kickoff back to the President 25, but a late hit out of bounds by Senior pushed the ball all the way to the Harding 40. On first down, though, President quarterback Todd McDuffie was sacked for a 12-yard loss by Senior High's Robert Knipp, and two incompletions later, the Presidents were forced to punt -- and hope their defense could make one final stop.
Phillips gained just one yard on first down, but carried for 14 and 12 yards on his next two carries to give the Tygers key first downs and clinch the victory.
Reece and Phillips were the two main ball carriers in the game, Reece finishing with 108 yards on 32 carries to go with his touchdown for the Presidents, and Phillips carrying 19 times for 79 yards for the Tygers. O'Neal also finished with 49 yards on five carries for Mansfield Senior.
McDuffie was 4-for-14 through the air for 42 yards for Harding, with Bobby Wilkins completing a pass off a reverse to David Meginness for 54 yards on the first President drive of the game. Andrew Molyet completed 7-of-19 passes for 115 yards with one interception for Mansfield.
Reece also had two receptions for 26 yards to lead Marion Harding's receivers, while Dane Greer and Rashad Jones each had two catches, Greer's covering 53 yards and Jones two catches going for 22.
Both teams return to OHC action Friday, with the Presidents hosting Mansfield Madison at Harding Stadium and the Tygers welcoming Ashland to Arlin Field. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at both sites.
HARD - FG Duncan Elliott 32, 6:26. (9 plays, 82 yards, TOP 5:32)
HARD - Jerrod Reece 3 run (Duncan Elliott kick), 11:07. (14 plays, 70 yards, TOP 5:49)
HARD - FG Duncan Elliott 25, :36 (12 plays, 39 yards, TOP 7:22)
MANS - Jamario O'Neal 33 run (Hollister Histed kick), 2:43. (7 plays, 72 yards, TOP 2:13)
MANS - Leeo Miller 1 run (Hollister Histed kick), 3:03. (10 plays, 34 yards, TOP 3:28)
RUSHING: Marion Harding - Jerrod Reece 32-108, Devin Jones 3-8, Lee Kepford 2-3, Todd McDuffie 2-(minus-6). Mansfield Senior - David Phillips 19-79, Jamario O'Neal 5-49, Leeo Miller 4-13, Andrew Molyet 1-0, Team 2-(minus-4).
PASSING: Marion Harding - Todd McDuffie 4-14-0-42, Bobby Wilkins 1-1-0-54. Mansfield Senior - Andrew Molyet 7-19-1-115, Jamario O'Neal 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Marion Harding - Jerrod Reece 2-26, David Meginness 1-54, Mike Pezley 1-11, Lee Kepford 1-5. Mansfield Senior - Dane Greer 2-53, Rashad Jones 2-22, Brett Donaldson 1-17, Jamario O'Neal 1-14, David Phillips 1-9.
INTERCEPTIONS: Marion Harding - Johnnie Jackson 1-0. Mansfield Senior - None.