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.
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.
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.