Mansfield survives shootout with AHS91 points were scored in this game
BY MARK FARINELLA, SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
Saturday, October 5, 2013
ATTLEBORO - After both teams combined for three touchdowns in the first 4:25 of play Friday night, the impression was left that this might be one of those "last team with the ball wins" football games.
It almost was.
It wasn't until Mansfield High's Miguel Villar-Perez went up the middle for a gain of 7 yards to the Attleboro 36 with just under a minute and a half left to play that the undefeated Hornets (4-0) could feel even remotely comfortable that their 49-42 victory over 3-1 Attleboro was secure. The showdown in the Hockomock League's Kelley-Rex Division was even more than advertised - 91 total points, 842 total yards (with just 6 yards separating the two teams), 649 passing yards, 37 completed passes, and a couple of coaches left almost speechless by the offensive fireworks that threatened to melt the new plastic grass of Tozier-Cassidy Field.
"Both teams are just so talented offensively, you get a good-weather night and both teams are in a groove ... even the times when we had great coverage, they made great throws and catches," said Mansfield coach Mike Redding in admiration of the performance of Attleboro quarterback Tim Walsh (18-28, 341 yards, one interception, six touchdown passes).
"It was a great night and they're a great football team," said AHS coach Mike Strachan in praise of the Mansfield offense that featured another sterling passing performance by QB Kyle Wisnieski (19-28, 308 yards, one interception, two TD passes). "We knew that going in. We knew that they had a lot of weapons and they used them. They get that ball around and those kids are just unbelievable. They made some great plays."
Indeed, there is not enough room here to list all of the superlatives or how they came to pass. The bottom line was that two evenly-matched teams slugged it out for the full 44 minutes, each with strengths and weaknesses that enhanced the potential for an offensive showdown that became the stuff of legend.
Attleboro led 14-7 after the first quarter. The Bombardiers struck first just 41 seconds into a game on a 63-yard TD pass from Walsh to junior Damon Belin, then followed a 2-yard scoring run by Villar-Perez - set up by throws of 26 yards to Brendan Hill (four catches, 76 yards) and 34 to Mike Hershman (5-128) - with 67-yard screen-pass play to Belin (4-136) for a score.
Mansfield appeared determined to break the game open in the second quarter, scoring on all three possessions to lead at halftime, 26-14. Alex Ruddy's 1-yard TD (his first score of the year) ended a 10-play, 55-yard march just 1:17 into the quarter, and it was followed by an 8-yard TD throw to Hill with 4:19 left and a 7-yard screen to Villar-Perez with 1:24 left.
"It would be fun to just sit back and look at it on film, because I've lost track of what happened," Redding said. "It felt at halftime like we had played a full game already, but the second half was even more entertaining than the first."
Attleboro seized upon a few lapses by the Hornets early in the second half to not only get back into the game, but also briefly take the lead.
A muffed punt snap ended Mansfield's first possession at its own 40, and it took the Bombardiers just two plays to score - a 17-yard pass to Tom Burns followed by a 23-yarder to a wide-open Luke Morrison in the end zone, followed by one of Mike Cannata's six successful PAT kicks.
Then, Attleboro's Ross Killion recovered a fumbled kickoff return at the Mansfield 29, and three plays later, Burns made a spectacular one-handed catch from 22 yards out at the eight-minute mark, Cannata's kick putting the Big Blue up 28-26. The Hornets absorbed the pressure of the moment and responded with a four-play, 69-yard scoring drive that featured throws of 32 yards to Hershman and 38 to Hill to set up Wisnieski's 1-yard keeper into the end zone with 6:37 left in the quarter. Hill contributed a one-handed catch of the conversion pass for a 34-28 lead.
The Hornets made it 42-28 with 2:09 left in the quarter, going 65 yards in seven plays to reach the end zone on Kyle Hurley's 3-yard catch and a conversion rush by Ruddy.
When Beau Palanza's interception set up a 27-yard sweep by Villar-Perez for a 49-28 lead with 10:40 left in the game, the Mansfield lead seemed insurmountable - but not to the Bombardiers and their supportive fans.
With 8:42 left, Walsh found Morrison from 25 yards out to end a five-play, 65 yard drive that took just 1:58 off the clock. Then when the Hornets went three-and-out, Walsh was an incredible 6-for-6 on his next possession, covering 69 yards in just 2:10 and making it a one-touchdown game with a 17-yard scoring throw to Burns with 5:09 to go.
"When do you have to score 49 and then hang on at the end," asked Redding. "(Walsh) has got great feet. He senses when the ends get up field, he goes underneath and when we pressured, he gets out of the pocket and keeps plays alive."
AHS had a great chance to tie the game when Belin intercepted Wisnieski at the Attleboro 45 and returned it to the Mansfield 37 with 3:24 to go, but the Hornets contained the scrambling QB and forced a fourth-and-15 incompletion to regain possession with 2:29 to go.
"It just goes to show you that it comes down to the little things, and making plays, and they made a couple more than we did," Strachan said.
Mansfield entertains Taunton on Friday, while Attleboro will play host to North Attleboro in the first non-holiday, regular-season meetings of the long-time rivals.
Mansfield 49, Attleboro 42
AHS - Damon Belin 63 pass from Tim Walsh (Michael Cannata kick), 10:19.
Mans - Miguel Villar-Perez 2 run (Alex Thompson kick), 8:42.
AHS - Belin 67 pass from Walsh (Cannata kick), 6:35.
Mans - Alex Ruddy 1 run (Thompson kick), 9:43.
Mans - Brendan Hill 8 pass from Kyle Wisnieski (kick failed), 4:19.
Mans - Villar-Perez 7 pass from Wisnieski (pass failed), 1:24.
AHS - Luke Morrison 23 pass from Walsh (Cannata kick), 9:06.
AHS - Tom Burns 22 pass from Walsh (Cannata kick), 8:00.
Mans - Wisnieski 1 run (Hill pass from Wisnieski), 6:37.
Mans - Kyle Hurley 3 pass from Wisnieski (Ruddy rush), 2:09.
Mans - Villar-Perez 27 run (Thompson kick), 10:40.
AHS - Morrison 25 pass from Walsh (Cannata kick) 8:42.
AHS - Burns 7 pass from Walsh (Cannata kick), 5:09.
RUSHING: Mansfield - Villar-Perez 9-45, Wisnieski 6-7, Buchanan 10-47, Ruddy 3-1, M. Bukuras 5-9, Dawkins 3-25.
PASSING: Mansfield - Wisnieski 19-28-1-308.
RECEIVING: Mansfield - Hill 4-76, Hershman 5-128, Villar-Perez 7-86, Hurley 2-minus 1, Buchanan 1-19.
MISSED FIELD GOALS: None.
No. 3 Mansfield escapes Attleboro with win in a shootoutBy Stephen Sellner
October 05, 2013
ATTLEBORO - Third-ranked Mansfield survived a shootout with No. 20 Attleboro on Friday night, escaping Tozier-Cassidy Field with a 49-42 win.
Hornets senior Kyle Wisnieski finished 19 of 28 for 304 yards, throwing three touchdowns and an interception, while also adding a rushing TD.
Mansfield (4-0) led by 21 with 10:40 to go, but the Blue Bombardiers (3-1) reeled off 14 straight points thanks to an onside kick recovery.
Attleboro drove into Mansfield's territory and had a shot to tie the game, but the Hornets defense forced quarterback Tim Walsh into three straight incompletions to secure the victory.
"Our defense finally came up with a big stop when we needed it, and [it was] just an unbelievable high school football game," Mansfield coach Mike Redding said. "It doesn't get much better than this."
Mansfield led, 26-14, at the half, but the Blue Bombardiers scored 14 points right out of the gate to take the lead.
Walsh hit Luke Morrison for a 23-yard score to cut the deficit to 5. After the Hornets fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Walsh found Thomas Burns, who hauled in a one-handed catch over the middle and scampered in for a 22-yard score to put the hosts up, 28-26, with 8:00 left in the third.
Walsh finished 17 of 27 for 344 yards, five touchdowns, and an interception.
The teams combined for 863 yards of offense.
Wisnieski passed to Mike Hershman and Brendan Hill, then kept it himself for a 1-yard TD to regain the lead. A two-point conversion to Hill made it 34-28 with 6:37 left in the third.
"We knew coming in there was a ton of offensive skill and it showed tonight," Redding said.
"The defenses played pretty well, but there's just too many good players out there to start."
It was a 14-14 game with 4:19 left in the second when Wisnieski hit Hill for an 8-yard touchdown on a critical third-and-goal play to give Mansfield its first lead of the game, 20-14.
After a quick three-and-out by the Blue Bombardiers, Wisnieski connected with Miguel Villar-Perez for an 8-yard touchdown to push the lead to 26-14 with 1:24 left in the second.
Attleboro got off to a roaring start when Walsh hit Damon Belin across the middle for a 63-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage to put the Blue Bombardiers up, 7-0.
Mansfield landed a counterpunch four plays later. After Wisnieski connected on long passes to Hill and Hershman, Villar-Perez scored from 2 yards out to tie it with 8:42 left in the first.
Belin struck again on the next drive, taking a screen pass for a 66-yard score to make it 14-7.
Belin finished with 125 receiving yards and 49 on the ground.
The Hornets tied it on an Alex Ruddy 1-yard touchdown run, capping a 10-play, 55-yard drive.
Recap: No. 1 Mansfield 49, Attleboro 42October, 5, 2013
By Ryan Lanigan | ESPNBoston.com
MANSFIELD, Mass. - When everything was said it done, even Mansfield head coach Mike Redding admitted he was looking forward to watching the film of the game because he had lost track of what had happened.
And you can't blame him either, as No. 1 Mansfield hung on to beat Attleboro, 49-42, in a see-saw type game, breaking the 2013 ESPN Boston curse of being the top ranked team. "When do you score 49 and have to hang on to win at the end?" Redding said after the game. "It was just great football. They ought to be so proud of themselves, we're proud of our guys. I'm glad we don't play them again because I don't think I want them again the rest of the year."
Coming into the game, Mansfield and Attleboro ranked as two of the best offenses in the entire Hockomock. And quarterbacks Kyle Wisnieski and Tim Walsh were a step above the rest. It looked as though it was going to be a shootout and neither offense disappointed.
Attleboro saw their second play of the game go 63 yards for a touchdown as Walsh connected with Damon Belin for a big touchdown just 41 seconds into the game. It didn't take long for Wisnieski and company to answer. Wisnieski hit Brendan Hill over the middle for 24 yards and then Michael Hershman down the left sideline for 34, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run from Miguel Villar-Perez. It was 7-7 less than 3 minutes into the game.
But Attleboro made it 14-7 just over two minutes later as Walsh hit Belin on a short screen pass and the junior scampered 66 yards for a touchdown. The defenses were finally able to hit a groove and the teams went scoreless for the next 7:52 of game play, in what seemed like an eternity between scores the way this game played.
Mansfield struck next to tie the game, bringing the ball 55 yards on 10 plays, including five straight pass plays, and then followed by five straight run plays. The drive was capped off by a Alex Ruddy 2-yard plunge.
After forcing an Attleboro punt, Mansfield's offense continued their groove, going 49 yards on eight plays with Wisnieski connecting with Hill in the corner of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown. The extra point was no good. The Mansfield defense came up with another big stop as Attleboro went three-and-out, and the Hornet offense marched down the field again.
Wisnieski hooked up with Hershman for a 36-yard play on a third and 14, and then hit Villar-Perez for 14 more. After an illegal shift forced Mansfield back to the 8-yard line for second and goal, Wisnieski lofted what looked like a hopeful pass towards the goal line and Villar-Perez was able to dive back for it and make the catch. The Hornets headed into halftime up 26-14 with 19 unanswered points.
Although both teams were spotlighted for their offenses, the Hornets had allowed on average less than 14 points a game and the Bombardiers less than 12.
"I think both teams are pretty good defensively, but you get a good weather night and you get into that fifth week of the year when both offenses are clicking, it's hard to stop people when you got kids pulling the trigger like Kyle and Tim," Redding added.
The Bombardiers didn't give in though and their defense was finally able to get a stop on the Hornets on their first offensive drive of the second half. After a bad snap forced a scramble and a turnover on downs, Attleboro took over at the Mansfield 40-yard line. Walsh hit Tom Burns for a 17 yard catch and then found Luke Morrison in the end zone less than 2 minutes into the second half to make it 26-21.
"We could have done one of two things at halftime," Attleboro head coach Mike Strachan said. "We could have packed it in or we could have come back. I'm very proud of the way we came back. That's a good football team but I think people recognized we're a good football team tonight. It was a battle of the titans."
On the ensuing kickoff, Attleboro junior Ross Killion came away with the fumble recovery to set up Attleboro at the Hornet 29. After two straight runs by Belin, Walsh connected with Burns over the middle - who made a spectacular one handed catch with a defender right on him - and ran it in for touchdown, giving Attleboro the lead back at 28-26 with eight even to go in the third quarter.
But Mansfield's offense quickly found its rhythm from the first half again as Wisnieski hit Hershman for a 32-yard pick up on their first play. After a false start pushed them back to the Attleboro 42, Wisnieski connected with Hill for a 38-yard pass. After Attleboro was able to stop Villar-Perez at the one, Wisnieski kept it himself for a 1-yard touchdown run to regain the lead. Wisnieski found a diving Hill in the corner of the end zone for the two point conversion to make it 34-28.
"We thought we good throw on them we had some good match ups," Redding said. "Mike [Hershman] was a big factor tonight and so was Brendan [Hill]. Both teams are so talented offensively. You get a good weather night, and both teams are in a groove, the defenses it's what 'what can you do?' Even times when we had great coverage's they made throws and catches. Walsh got out of trouble so many times. We just did enough to win and that's a great win against a very good football team."
It looked as though the Hornets delivered the final blow when they forced an Attleboro three-and-out and then took the ball 65 yards on 7 plays that saw Wisnieski connect with Kyle Hurley for a 4-yard touchdown pass and Ruddy ran it in for two, making it 42-28 Hornets.
It looked even bleaker for the Bombardiers when their next series resulted in an Aurien Dawkins' interception that was tipped off Morrison's hands. Five plays later, Villar-Perez went 27 yards in a Madden-like run to make it 49-28 with 10:40 left in the game.
But the Bombardiers didn't give up, taking it from their own 35 in just five plays for a score when Walsh connected with Morrison - who was visibly cramping while running - for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The Bombardier defense then came up with a huge stop, forcing a Mansfield punt. Walsh then guided his team from their own 31, completing six passes in a row, finding Burns on a 7-yard touchdown to bring Attleboro within one score with 5:09 to play.
Stakes were raised even higher when Mansfield was faced with a third and 6 from their own 32, and Bilen was able to come up with an interception of Wisnieski. Attleboro had the ball at the Mansfield 37 with just minutes to play and down by just one touchdown.
"There were really two or three points for either team to just throw in the towel and say 'they've got us' and neither team quit and battled back," said Redding. "It was an amazing game. It will be fun to sit down and look at it on film because I've lost track of what happened."
In the end though, it was the Mansfield defense that came up with the plays. Attleboro's first screen pass went for negative yards and then three straight incompletions turned the ball back over to Mansfield. As Mansfield faced third and 5 on their next series, Wisnieski connected with Hill for a six yard pick up to seal the game.
It was an unreal battle of quarterbacks as Wisnieski went 18 of 24 for 306 yards, tossing three touchdowns and rushing for another. For Walsh, his numbers were something you don't see many losing quarterbacks have: 18 of 29 for 362 yards and 6 touchdowns. Both quarterbacks had a second-half interception.
"[Tim's] got great feet and sense when the ends get up field and goes underneath," Redding said. When we pressured, he got out of the pocket and he keeps plays alive. We knew that coming in and we designed a lot of stuff to try and keep him in the pocket, he was just too good. Kyle does the same stuff; he makes throws and gets out of trouble. They're two guys that can throw the ball and do a lot with their feet."
Mansfield improves to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Kelley-Rex division of the Hockomock. The Hornets will now host Taunton (2-2) next Friday night. Attleboro picks up their first loss, going to 3-1 and 1-1 in the division with rival North Attleboro coming in for a rare non-Thanksgiving clash between the neighboring towns.
"We're onto North Attleboro next week and our season continues," Strachan said. "We've just got to learn from this experience, Mansfield is a great team."
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