MANSFIELD — The Warriors had only allowed 36 total points against their first six opponents, but the Mansfield offense had no problem moving the ball on the ground and through the air as the Hornets brought down King Philip, 46-33, Saturday night.
“I never thought we would score 46 against this defense. I saw them on film and I thought maybe we can get 21 and that might be enough,’’ said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “We played hard and we were aggressive and made plays instead of waiting for the plays to come to us.’’
An assist is not a statistic in football but if it was Mansfield sophomore Brendan Hill would be credited with one for a play in the first quarter. With Mansfield up, 6-0, Hill was targeted by Hornets QB Kyle Wisnieski on the left sideline. The pass was high, but Hill used his 6-foot-5-inch frame to get a hand on the ball and swat it to teammate Michael Hershman, who took the deflection for a 55-yard touchdown.
Hill added two touchdown catches of his own as the Hornets held on to hand the No. 6 Warriors their first loss of the season.
On the play in the first, Hill saw that when the ball was thrown to him, the KP defenders left Hershman all alone, then his basketball instincts took over.
“I thought, might as well tip it to him, he had it wide open, he could have walked into the end zone, and it worked out,’’ said Hill. “That’s just like tipping it right back in the hoop.’’
Wisnieski found Hill on a 69-yard strike in the second quarter and again on a 6-yard score with three seconds left in the half as the Hornets drove 59 yards in 37 seconds to end the half.
King Philip did stay in the game until late. With 6:36 left in the fourth, quarterback J.J. Dillon threw a 36-yard TD pass to Sam McDonald to cut the deficit to 13. But Kevin Makie ran for a 61-yard touchdown on Mansfield’s next play to make it 46-26.
“We answered and that was huge. Any time you felt like, ‘If we don’t get a score here they can get it to one touchdown and we have ballgame,’ we made plays,’’ said Redding.
Makie also had a 39-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Robert Rapoza had rushing scores of 80 yards and 53 yards.
Mansfield (5-2) improved to 2-0 in the Kelly-Rex Division, while King Philip (6-1) fell to 1-1.