STOUGHTON, Mass. – Through three games, the Stoughton Black Knight’s defense has used the saying, “bend, don’t break.” On Friday night, they didn’t even bend as they beat Mansfield, 25-6, in the rain for the second straight year.
It wasn’t exactly déjà vu for the teams, but the result was the same. Stoughton followed up last year’s 8-0 shocker over the Hornets with a relentless run game that saw senior Frankie Morris go for 198 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries.
“I think we’re improving,” Stoughton head coach Greg Burke said. “We played better than last week. That’s our goal is to play better than the week before and every week we’ve played a little better.”
After Mansfield opened the game on a quick three-and-out, Stoughton took over at midfield. 10 players later – all rushing plays – Morris collected his first touchdown from four yards out.
On Mansfield’s ensuing possession, which started at their own 21, Adam Leonard was able to get to Mansfield quarterback Kyle Wisnieski and force a fumble which was recovered by Stoughton senior Shawn Connolly at the five yard line. Three plays later, Morris doubled his total with a 1-yard run and gave Stoughton a two-score lead, 13-0, with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter.
“He’s what you call a real horse,” Burke said of Morris. “He’s big, there’s no one bigger, there’s no one stronger in this area. When he gets going it’s like a locomotive.”
Mansfield was finally able to get a drive in gear in the second quarter, going from their own 22-yard line to Stoughton’s 12 in 11 plays. But when faced with 4th and 7 and only 2:10 in the second quarter, Mansfield went for it. Wisnieski’s pass went incomplete and Stoughton had the ball to run out the first half.
But they didn’t just run it out – they scored. On third down from their own 14, Morris took a toss to the right, cut in left, and then back out right to a wide open lane along the sideline. 86 yards later, Morris had a hat trick of touchdowns and the Black Knights had a 19-0 halftime lead.
“They've got a good line,” Mansfield head coach Mike Redding said. “This is as good of a backfield as I’ve seen with a complete fullback running the ball and two good half backs.”
The second half didn’t start much better for the Hornets. After Andrew Kelly sacked Wisnieski, they were forced to punt after an incompletion. Stoughton used their running game once again to their advantage.
On the first three plays, the Black Knights alternated from Morris, to Aaron Mack, to Malachi Baugh. On the next play, they went back to Morris who went for 18 yards. Next, it was Mack’s turn, as the senior exploded for a 33 yard run before tripping up yards short of the goal line.
From five yards out, Stoughton was able to punch it in again by – no surprise – Morris.
Mansfield was able to get on the scoreboard their next go, as they used 14 plays before Kevin Makie ran it in from 10 yards.
“They brought their ‘A’ game and we brought our ‘D’ game and that’s not a good recipe against them on the road,” Redding said.
The win improves Stoughton to 4-0 while Mansfield drops to 2-2.
Stoughton will host Foxboro next week, who is fresh off a big upset of North Attleboro, in a key Davenport Division battle. Mansfield will host a dangerous Attleboro team.