Many of the former players feel this game was a turning point in the program that had struggled for a number of years. The players came away from the game feeling they could play with any of the teams.

Unlikely Hero Saves Hornets

Mansfield beats Stoughton 6-0

When Mansfield Peng Phadungchai received his assignment from head coach Mike Redding for Friday night's game at Stoughton, he didn't figure he would be in for a very exciting evening.

But Phadungchai came in to replace an injured quarterback Tony Scarpellini, who hurt his hand while being tackled, and tossed a 19-yard scoring strike to Mark Copithorne on his first offensive play to give the Hornets a 6-0 victory. Starting at defensive back, the diminutive Phadungchai spent most of the evening playing up close to the line, with the responsibility of keeping Stoughton's option offense from breaking any long runs to the outside. He and his teammates were effective in stopping the Black Knights attack but had much more trouble mounting an offense of their own.

Stoughton was surprisingly tough on defense, their linemen giving the Hornet offense all it could handle. But this was no surprise to coach Redding.

"We watched them last week (against Dighton-Rehoboth)" explained Redding. "I knew they were better than they looked there. I knew once they got on home turf they'd be tough."

The Knights' success on defense was aided by damaging Hornet penalties but the credit still lies with Stoughton, which was especially effective in stopping the Hornet passing attack, though starting signal-caller Scarpellini enjoyed good pass protection, he was only able to produce 63 passing yards.

After a scoreless first half, the Hornets returned to action obviously fired up. Their enthusiasm almost backfired when Stoughton's Tom Holyoke neatly side-stepped two flying Hornet defenders and pranced 52 yards to the Hornet 28. Now enthusiasm was on Stoughton's side and they drove to a first-and-goal on the four-yard line. But with the aid of a Stoughton procedure penalty, the Hornets were able to shut the door, stopping Knight quarterhack Scott Erlich and taking over on downs.

By now both teams were getting more desperate, and both tried for long completions on their next possesions. But with the remnants of Hurricane Hugo now tearing across the field, the Hornets finally settled down to take charge of the game.

Starting at their own 12-yard line, Mansfield began its scoring drive with a 17-yard jaunt by Paul Smith. With the help of a Stoughton personal foul and a 23-yard Scarpellini-to-Copithorne pass completion, the Hornets marched to the Stoughton 1-yard line. But on third down, Redding couldn't resist pulling a trick out of his sleeve and called for a Copithorne to Scarpellini flea-flicker. Not only did the play cost the Hornets three yards, but it cost them Scarpellini as well. He suffered an injured hand when tackled and although the injury did not appear serious, he was done for the evening.

Enter the unlikely hero. With a fourth down on the Black Knight 1-yard line, the Hornets called on Phadungchai, the backup quarterback. He stepped up to avoid the Stoughton rush and calmly lofted a pass to Copithorne, who shed two defenders to make a slick, sliding grab.

"Peng was ready when we needed him," said Redding. "He just goes out and does what you ask liim." Redding saw a lot to be happy about, although he had hoped his team would be more prepared. "At least they 'sucked it up' when they had to" he said.

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