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Flurry of scores helps Mansfield pull away

by LELAND BARCLAY Special to River Valley Democrat-Gazette | September 17, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.
Mansfield's Daniel Burton (30) runs the ball on Friday, Sept. 15 at Waldron. Waldron took on Mansfield in a low-scoring first half that saw Mansfield pull away in the second to win. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery. (River Valley Democrat-Gazette/Caleb Grieger)

WALDRON – The Mansfield Tigers scored a pair of offensive touchdowns within two minutes and then three defensive touchdowns within a five-minute span against Waldron on Friday night.

The touchdown flurries broke open a close game and lifted Mansfield to a 48-6 win to close out nonconference play for both teams.

Mansfield (3-0) scored the lone touchdown of the first half before scoring right before halftime and then on the second play of the third quarter.

The Tigers put the game away with three defensive touchdowns late in the second half.

Play of the Game: Leading just 7-0, Daniel Burton returned a punt 10 yards to Waldron's 40 with 2:02 left before the half.

Mansfield's offense needed just 50 seconds to take a two-score lead into the locker room.

Burton provide a big play with a 20-yard run to the 13 on an option pitch before senior quarterback Cole Kindle hit senior receiver Peyton Martin with a pass across the middle for a touchdown.

"It gave us some confidence," Mansfield coach Whit Overton said. "We were struggling mightily. To get some confidence going was very important for us."

Kindle has adjusted from a wide-open spread offense to a run-oriented ball-control offense installed by Overton, who took over in the summer.

"The play call where we have our two outside receivers come to the middle and sit down in a hole or keep going across for a drag," Kindle said. "All the linebackers like we see every day in practice ran way out. Peyton sat in that hole. It was all him. He was great after the catch. I threw it maybe three yards, and he did the rest. It was a big turnaround for us. We finally got something going."

Kindle threw for 1,505 yards and 15 touchdowns last year as a junior after moving from Greenwood, where he started one game against Mountain Home due to injury.

Martin caught Kindle's pass on Friday and scored with 1:12 left before the half.

"It's exciting," Martin said. "Coming from last year and you're used to getting all those passes. This year, it's more of a run game. Hearing that pass play called is probably one of my favorite things to hear at a football game. It really gets me hyped up. Scoring that touchdown definitely wasn't easy but it's exciting when I get to do it. It means a lot to me."

Mansfield also opened the second half with a touchdown with Daniel Burton scoring on a 47-yard run on the second play of the new half.

Players of the Game: Samuel Burton, Ethan Martin and Daniel Burton scored defensive touchdowns to turn a 21-6 lead into a 42-6 lead.

All three were with Waldron in Mansfield territory.

"The second half was all about defense for us," Overton said.

Samuel Burton picked up a fumble and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown with 4:39 left in the third quarter.

On Waldron's sixth play on the next series, Ethan Martin returned a fumble 69 yards for a score.

On the second play of the fourth quarter, Daniel Burton returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown.

Notable: Mansfield defeated Waldron for the second-straight season. ... Mansfield scored three defensive touchdowns, passed for a score, and ran for three. ... Daniel Burton ran for 76 yards and a touchdown, caught a pass for 15 yards, and returned an interception for a TD. ... Mansfield committed five turnovers and turned the ball over on downs once.

Up Next: Mansfield hosts West Fork in the 3A-1 opener while Waldron hosts Ashdown in the 4A-7 opener

Print Headline: Flurry of scores helps Mansfield pull away

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