Mansfield senior Nick Marciano
Mansfield defensive coordinator Mark DeGirolamo
Franklin head coach Eian Bain
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Week 1 – Mansfield 31, BC High 10
Mansfield entered the season with high expectations and made sure to load its schedule with tough opponents. It didn’t take long to see how good the Hornets were going to be on defense this season, limiting the Eagles to just three points for the majority of the game before a fourth quarter touchdown. And there were flashes of what the offense was going to be as Cincere Gill went for a 64-yard score and Michael DeBolt accounted for 19 points, including a rush touchdown, a receiving score, and a field goal. Check out the HockomockSports.com recap and photo gallery from Ryan Lanigan.
Week 2 – La Salle (OH) 38, Mansfield 16
The trip to Ohio was much more than just a football game for the Hornets, who also went to the Notre Dame game against New Mexico. The Lancers featured over a half dozen DI college commits at the time, and with plenty of scouts in attendance, possibly more by now. Mansfield didn’t help its own cause with a couple of miscues but Lancers were nationally ranked for a reason. Gill scored an 87-yard touchdown in the first quarter to make it 7-7 but La Salle led 24-7 at the break. Junior Matt Boen tossed a 32-yard pass to Danny Rapoza in the third on a trick play. Click here for a brief recap from The Sun Chronicle.
Week 3 – Mansfield 31, Taunton 6
The way the schedule worked out this year, Hockomock teams had a bye week somewhere in the first three weeks. The Hornets had a week off following their trip to Ohio before opening its league schedule with a visit from Taunton. The Tigers entered 1-1 on the season, coming off a win over Durfee. Mansfield went to work early as Michael DeBolt sandwiched a pair of first quarter touchdown runs around one from classmate Nick Marciano, who dashed for 58 yards up the right side that helped give Mansfield a 21-0 lead after a quarter. TJ Guy and Joe Plath helped set the tone defensively with sacks in the opening half. Click here for a recap from The Sun Chronicle’s Peter Gobis.
Week 4 – Mansfield 15, King Philip 13
Mansfield scored just minutes into the game but would need to hold on for a close 15-13 win at the end. Jack Moussette connected with Rapoza for a 33-yard score just 2:22 into the game. But in true fashion to this rivalry, it was a rock fight the rest of the way. The Hornets were forced to punt on its next two drives, and then turned it over on downs three straight series. KP found the end zone but Marciano blocked the extra point to keep Mansfield ahead. Gill added a 20-yard touchdown, and Marciano dove in for the two-point to give Mansfield a two-score lead. King Philip made things interesting with a late touchdown but couldn’t recover the onside kick. Click here for the HockomockSports.com recap and photo gallery from Ryan Lanigan.
Week 5 – Mansfield 39, Franklin 9
Mansfield’s defense had been solid through the first four weeks but really took center stage against a high-powered Panthers team in the third week of league action. The Panthers entered with a 3-1 record and averaging over 25 points per game, and had home field advantage for the matchup. But instead of a shootout, the Hornets dominated on the defensive side of the ball. Franklin scored an early field goal but Mansfield answered with 26 straight points to take complete control of the game. Marciano was able to down a punt from Gill deep in Panther territory, and that in turn helped lead to a safety after a high snap. DeBolt, Marciano, Gill, and Vinnie Holmes all had touchdowns in the win as well as Ethan Thevenot on a late touchdown rush. Click here for the HockomockSports.com recap and photo gallery from Josh Perry.
Week 6 – Mansfield 36, Oliver Ames 6
Oliver Ames senior Nathan Cabral (116 yards) and the Tigers put the Hornets on alert after scoring its opening series, but the Hornets buckled down and shined on both sides of the ball the rest of the way. Gill rushed for over 150 yards and a touchdown while Holmes, DeBolt, and Marciano all found the end zone on the ground. After OA scored on its opening drive, the Hornets’ defense didn’t allow the Tigers to add to its total on the scoreboard for the rest of the game. It was the second straight game the Hornets’ defense held an opponent to 10 or fewer points, which they have done in eight of their 11 games so far this season. Click here for a recap from The Sun Chronicle’s Peter Gobis.
Week 7 – Mansfield 46, Attleboro 7
The Hornets earned their second straight Kelley-Rex division title with a dominating win on a Saturday afternoon at Tozier-Cassidy Field. Mansfield’s big play cability was on full display as Gill and Marciano both burst free free 59 yard scores in the first half. Holding a 14-7 lead after one, the Hornets really put the game away with a big second quarter. Gill had a 29-yard rushing score, Moussette linked up with Marciano for 16 yards, and DeBolt had a 10-yard rush and a 41-yard field goal to put Mansfield up 38-7 at the break. The Hornets’ defense held the Bombardiers to 0-for-9 on third down and under 150 yards total. Click here for the HockomockSports.com Photo Gallery from Ryan Lanigan, and click here for a recap from The Sun Chronicle’s Sean McGuire.
Week 8 – Mansfield 24, Marshfield 6
Mansfield opened its playoff run as the second seed in a loaded D2 South bracket, hosting #7 Marshfield. It was a familiar opponent for the Hornets as they had played the Rams three straight seasons (2015-2017). The defense led the way, limiting the Rams to just one touchdown in the second quarter after Mansfield built a 21-0 lead. The Hornets set the tone early as they forced a fumble on Marshfield’s first possession and DeBolt picked up the loose back and scored from five yards out. DeBolt added a 38-yard field goal in the second half and the Mansfield defense pitched a second half shutout to earn a win in the opening round of the tournament. Click here for a recap from The Sun Chronicle’s Brendan Coughlin.
Week 9 – Mansfield 34, King Philip 6
In what was probably the most impressive performance of the season, the Hornets earned a big win over rival King Philip. Over the past two seasons, it’s been the Warriors who have kept the Hornets from the Super Bowl, going to three straight state finals themselves, including a win at Alumni Field in the 2018 South Final. The Hornets were able to exact revenge in a big way as Moussette had his best game of the season under center. He tossed four touchdowns, including three to Gill, and Mansfield’s defense kept the KP offense in check from start to finish. Using Gill as a receiver showed Mansfield’s versatility and all of the options they have offensively. Click here for the HockomockSports.com recap and photo gallery from Ryan Lanigan.
Week 10 – Mansfield 22, Natick 3
There was no letdown after the King Philip win as the Hornets went on the road and dominated against top-seeded Natick, earning their first sectional title since 2013. Mansfield didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter but a strong kicking performance from DeBolt and a terrific defensive showing kept the RedHawks at bay. The Hornets’ defense allowed only 45 rushing yards, six yards passing, and had three sacks. Natick only picked up two first downs all night, both coming on a first half drive with one via penalty. Holmes led the offense with 131 yards and a touchdown while DeBolt kicked three first half field goals. Click here for the HockomockSports.com recap and photo gallery from Josh Perry.
Week 11 – Mansfield 22, Foxboro 12
Before the Hornets visit Gillette Stadium for the D2 State Final against Lincoln-Sudbury, Mansfield made its first trip to Foxboro to take on the Warriors for the annual Thanksgiving matchup. With last year’s three overtime loss at Fenway on their minds, the Hornets raced out to a 22-0 lead with a strong showing in the first half. Marciano connected with Rapoza for a 46-yard pass, Holmes scampered for a 46-yard score, and DeBolt found the end zone from nine yards out for a 22-0 lead. Coach Mike Redding was faced with the tough decision of playing or resting his starters with the state title game looming. Redding elected to rest his starters in the second half to prep for Lincoln-Sudbury. Click here for a recap from The Boston Globe’s Dan Shulman.
Ryan Lanigan: Mansfield
Josh Perry: Mansfield
Matt Bosh: Mansfield
Jeff Pickette: Mansfield
Ryan Lanigan: 60-29
Josh Perry: 69-20
Matt Bosh: 71-18
Jeff Pickette: 70-19