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Waxahachie defense shutdowns Mansfield, moves Tribe 1 win from 6A postseason berth

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports

WAXAHACHIE — There’s no such thing as an ugly win in District 11-6A. 

The (6-2, 3-2) Waxahachie offense, however, toed that line in a 16-14 victory against Mansfield on Friday at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium. 

The Indian defense, though — whew. That unit continues to impress week in and week out under third-year head coach Shane Tolleson. The defensive effort helped the Indians return to the win column following back-to-back losses against defending 6A state champions DeSoto and Duncanville. It also pushed the Tribe one win from an 11-6A playoff berth.

The Tigers entered Friday’s annual Pink Out game averaging 390.5 yards per game, including 206.1 rushing yards and 6.3 yards per carry.

Waxahachie limited Mansfield to 263 total yards of offense, 138 rushing yards and 4.93 YPC. Tiger quarter Braxton Van Cleave completed 15-of-his-35 passes for 116 yards and 1 touchdown to 1 interception. The 42.9% completion percentage was also well below Van Cleave’s 57.8% mark for the season.

The Tiger offense outpaced the Indians 154 total yards to 115 in the first half. The two teams entered the halftime locker room knotted at 7-all. 

Fifty-four of the Waxahachie yards came on back-to-back plays, resulting in a 31-yard Wade Lemmons touchdown run for a 7-0 lead with 7:04 to play in the second quarter. Ramon McKinney Jr. completed a 23-yard pass to Trenton Kidd to set up the Lemons score.

The Tigers finally found the end zone to tie the game when Marquise Hubbard capped a 7-play, 74-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown run with 42 seconds to play in the half.  

Neither team found success through the air, combining for just 67 passing yards on 10 completions.

Outside of the lone Indian scoring drive of the half, Waxahachie had three drives that covered fewer than 5 yards. The only other drive to pick up a first down (2) ended in a fumble. 

Each team lost a fumble.

Waxahachie came out of the halftime locker room and put together an impressive 10-play, 89-yard drive that ended in a 22-yard Beckham Atkins field goal.

Atkins’ kick put the Indians up 10-7 with 8:48 to play in the third quarter. The placekicker had been sidelined by injury since week three. 

Six-of-the-next-7 drives ended with a punt. The outlier was the Indian defense forcing a turnover on downs with 9:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. Mansfield faced a 4th-and-3 at the Waxahachie 42-yard line, only to be stuffed for a 1-yard gain.  

Waxahachie capitalized on the sixth punt in that exchange when quarterback Ramon McKinney Jr. took the ensuing snap around the left side of the line for a 79-yard touchdown. Mansfield blocked the point-after attempt, leaving the Indians up 16-7 with 4:12 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

The two teams exchanged turnovers, Waxahachie punted for the 7th time in the game and Mansfield found the end zone for the second time. The mop-up time score came with 3 seconds left to play when Van Cleave connected with Zion Robinson for a 16-yard touchdown.

Waxahachie recovered the desperation on-side kick to secure the 16-14 11-6A bounce-back victory. 

UP NEXT

With a 3-2 district mark and Cedar Hill, Dallas Skyline and Mansfield all at 2-3, the Indians will officially secure a playoff berth with a win in either of their final two games. Waxahachie holds head-to-head tie-breakers over Cedar Hill and Mansfield, and hosts Skyline at home in the last week of the regular season.

At 1-4 in district play, Mansfield Legacy could, in theory, still get to 3 wins and muddy the waters…but the Broncos close the season against Cedar Hill and Duncanville, which the magic 8-ball deems an “impossible outcome.” 

The outcome to watch is if Skyline can sneak into the fourth spot of the 11-6A standings. Should the Raiders make the 6A postseason, Waxahachie and DeSoto would go in the 6A Division II (small division) bracket. Skyline and Duncanville would represent the district in 6A Division I. 

Skyline hosts Mansfield on Friday and finishes the regular season on the road against the Indians on Thursday, Nov. 2.

Waxahachie will travel back to Mansfield to face the winless Mansfield Lake Ridge Eagles at 7 p.m. Friday. 

PHOTO GALLERY

All photos by Kirk Holt/Ellis County Sports

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@elliscosports.com

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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