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Mansfield overcomes turnovers to win Division 2

Mansfield players celebrated beating St. John’s of Shrewsbury for the Division 2 title.

John Tlumacki/Globe staff

Mansfield players celebrated beating St. John’s of Shrewsbury for the Division 2 title.

The day may not have looked promising for Mansfield in the first 20 minutes, but in the end they were the last ones standing in the Division 2 title game, taking the Super Bowl win over St. John’s of Shrewsbury, 28-14.

The running game was in full force for Mansfield, as Miguel Villar-Perez ran for 120 yards and a touchdown while Alex Ruddy ran for two scores and Michael Hershman ran for another as the Hornets claimed their sixth Super Bowl title.

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St. John’s quarterback Drew Smiley threw for just 63 yards and had three interceptions, but ran for 84 yards and a touchdown. Running back Shane Combs ran for 100 yards and a touchdown.

The first half was characterized by sloppy play on both sides, as Mansfield turned the ball over five times – four fumbles and one interception – while St. John’s threw two interceptions of their own.

Mansfield started off the scoring early on the first drive of the game, as Ruddy ran in a one yard score to give Mansfield the 7-0 lead 4:27 into the game. St. John’s answered later in the quarter with a one yard run by Smiley to tie the game 7-7.

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St. John’s took a 14-7 lead with 4:18 left in the half on a 15-yard run by Combs. A short kickoff recovery by St. John’s couldn’t net anymore points, however, as Smiley threw an interception to Mansfield’s Aurian Dawkins in the end zone. The score would remain 14-7 heading into halftime.

Smiley threw his third interception of the game early in the third quarter as he was picked off by Mansfield’s Mike Barresi. Mansfield finally cashed in on a St. John’s turnover when Ruddy ran in an 11-yard score to cut the deficit to 14-13.

After the Mansfield defense forced St. John’s to a three-and-out, Mansfield retook the lead with 3:09 to play in the third quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run by Hershman. Mansfield went for the two-point conversion and punched it in on a run by Villar-Perez to grab a 21-14 lead.

Mansfield stopped St. John’s on fourth down from the Mansfield 21-yard line, then engineered a methodically drive that started with 27 seconds left in the third quarter, but went all the way to 2:38 left in the fourth quarter, with Villar-Perez running in a three-yard score to give Mansfield a 28-14 lead.

The Mansfield defense then shut down Smiley’s desperation last-minute drive, and St. John’s could only watch as they fell just short of a Super Bowl win for the second year in a row.

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