WRENTHAM – Mansfield’s juggernaut offense facing King Philip’s shutdown defense was supposed to be the story. But when the undefeated Hockomock Kelley-Rex Division foes met on Friday night, it was Mansfield’s defense that rose to the occasion.
After allowing a touchdown on the opening drive, Mansfield held King Philip to 137 yards for the remainder of the game. The defense’s dominance helped the offense — which struggled early — gain its footing, and senior quarterback Kyle Wisnieski (12 of 26 for 178 yards) delivered the winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter to lead No. 3 Mansfield (6-0) over No. 10 King Philip, 20-7.
Senior Miguel Villar-Perez (12 rushes, 126 yards) ran for two scores for the Hornets, who clinched a tie for the Hockomock Kelley-Rex title.
“That was just old-fashioned Hockomock League football, two teams physically hitting each other hard,” Mansfield coach Mike Redding said. “I think the story of the night was our defense. We gave up one early, but settled down and played great run defense against a very physical team that can run the ball. All week that’s what we were preaching.
“Everyone was going to talk, our offense against their D, but we said the story of the game is going to be our defense playing against their run game.”
King Philip (5-1) went 63 yards on its opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. Junior Mark Glebus ran one in from 4 yards. But that was all King Philip would manage.
The score remained 7-0 for much of the first half as neither team could muster much offensively. But with 6:10 left in the half, Villar-Perez made something out of nothing to tie the game.
Villar-Perez appeared to be stopped deep in the backfield, but broke a tackle and cut all the way back across the field, toward the left sideline. He then pulled away from the defense and took it 88 yards for a TD.
“They’re a really aggressive team, they like to pursue the ball,” Villar-Perez said. “They overpursued so I cut out and just had the vision.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Mansfield took the lead for good with 9:10 left in the game. Wisnieski found senior running back Kyle Hurley for a 36-yard completion that set up the Hornets at the 22-yard line.
On the next play, Wisnieski fumbled the snap, but picked it up and threw to Hurley, who took it all the way to put Mansfield up, 14-7.
Mansfield forced a three-and-out, then went back to work on offense. Wisnieski tossed completions of 14 and 21 yards to senior wideout Brendan Hill to set up Villar-Perez’s second TD, this one from 5 yards.
King Philip, desperately trying to get back in the game, drove to the Mansfield 42-yard line on the next drive. But Warriors quarterback John Dillon was hit by Hill, who forced a fumble and then recovered it for Mansfield.