Field position was the key for Mansfield in its 89th Thanksgiving showdown with host Foxborough at Jack Martinelli Field Thursday morning.
On all three of the Hornets’ first-half scoring drives, their possession began in Warriors’ territory, helping Mansfield earn a 22-12 victory in its final tuneup ahead of its Division 2 Super Bowl against Lincoln-Sudbury Dec. 6.
“Our offense was good enough to get the three scores to make it comfortable at the half,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “Our defense keeps us in games, but if our offense gets clicking, we’re tough to handle.”
The Hornets (11-1) pinned Foxborough at its 15, and a bad snap on third and long forced a safety for the lead. Two plays after the ensuing free kick, a halfback pass from Nick Marciano to Danny Rapoza resulted in a 44-yard touchdown.
From that point, it was Vinnie Holmes for Mansfield, on both sides of the ball. The Hornets next scoring drive lasted just one play — a Holmes 46-yard run down the sideline. On defense, Holmes was more electrifying, recording a pair of sacks early in the second half.
“We didn’t want Vinnie carrying a ton,” said Redding. “When we did give it to Vinnie, he was highly effective.”
The rest of the Mansfield starting defense found success containing the Warriors’ dual-threat quarterback Shayne Kerrigan, limiting him to 20 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Foxborough got its offense going late, with much of the Hornets’ starting defense out of the game. Kerrigan, who won the Foxborough team MVP award for the game, and Chris McNamara each rushed for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
“The key was trying to control Kerrigan,” said Redding. “We just tried to bottle him up the best we could. Our defense played great. The defense has been off the charts.”
Mansfield’s team MVP Michael DeBolt capped the scoring with a 9-yard rush late in the second quarter.
Newton South 24, Lincoln-Sudbury 15 — The Warriors (8-3) are headed to the Division 2 Super Bowl against Mansfield, but host South (5-6) pulled out the upset on the strength of a 10-point fourth quarter. Angelo Rodriguez hooked up with Raekwon Washington on a 55-yard score, and Jack Riley booted a 35-yard field goal. Earlier, Anthony Maregni produced long scoring runs of 70 and 65 yards.
Dan Shulman can be reached at email@example.com.