MANSFIELD- The Mansfield Hornets have admittedly flown under the radar this season but after tonight’s 42-26 over Wellesley in the opening round of the Division Two playoffs, the Hornets are squarely back on people’s radars.
The Hornets struck first when wide receiver C.J Bell took a counter play 61 yards down to the Wellesley three yard line. Quarterback Connor Zukowski would score two plays later on a quarterback sneak to get the Hornets on the board. Zukowski would also convert a two point conversion to give Mansfield an early 8-0 lead.
Zukowski would open the second quarter by connecting with junior wide receiver Trevor Foley on a 37 yard touchdown pass. Mansfield’s balanced attack kept Wellesley off balance all night long. Mansfield coach Mike Redding talked about Mansfield penchant for keeping defenses guessing.
“That was goal. 50/50 run, pass. I feel like we can throw it on every play with Foley and Bell and the receivers we’ve got but we also want to establish the line of scrimmage and run the ball too.”
The Hornets were able to run the ball despite missing their top two backs, Rocco Scarpellini and Brian Butler being out. Senior Drew Sacco, juniors Tommy Smith, Brandon Jackman and the aforementioned Bell were able to pick up the slack and fill in nicely.
Jackman would increase the Hornets lead to 21-0 on a 31 yard touchdown run. The Hornets would take that lead into the half.
Mansfield looked to be in command but Wellesley got on the board to start the third quarter when Raiders quarterback Vincent Ferrara hit wide receiver Justin Williamson for a nine yard touchdown pass to make the s ire 21-7. The comeback would be short lived however as Mansfield would respond on the next possession when Zukowski hit Smith on a 35 yard touchdown pass.
It was a special night for the senior signal caller as he became the fifth quarterback in Mansfield history to surpass 3,000 career passing yards. Zukowski talked about what it means to him to join such an exclusive club.
“It’s crazy, I wasn’t really expecting it, I knew I was close. I was hoping to get it at home, and got it done. I couldn’t be happier.”
The Hornets would reach into their bag of tricks to add to their lead when Bell would connect with Foley on a 28 yard half back pass for a touchdown. Wellesley would make it interesting down the stretch but the Hornets would ice the game on Jackman’s second rushing touchdown of the night from nine yards out.
With the win, the Hornets advance to round two where they will face former Kelley-Rex foe Milford who beat Concord-Carlisle.