Photos in the media gallery by Fran Leonard.
Led by a defense which forced four turnovers and shutdown a potent Mansfield offense and thanks to four rushing touchdowns from fullback Frankie Morris, the Stoughton High football team beat Mansfield 25-6 Friday night in Stoughton in a rain-soaked Hockomock League affair.
With the win, Stoughton is now 4-0, while Mansfield falls to 2-2.
"When they brought their 'A' game, we brought out 'D' game, and that's not a good recipe against [Stoughton] on the road," Mansfield head coach Mike Redding said.
Mansfield was looking to avenge last season's shocker, when the Black Knights traveled to Mansfield and upset the Hornets, 8-0. But a slow start doomed Mansfield's chances.
In Mansfield's first three drives of the game, the Hornets went three and out twice and fumbled deep in Stoughton territory, failing to pick up a single first down on offense in the opening quarter, as the Black Knights built a 13-0 lead.
The Black Knights forced a three-and-out on Mansfield's opening offensive drive. On Stoughton's first drive, the offense drove the ball 50 yards behind Morris and Malachi Baugh runs, capping the 10-play scoring drive with a four-yard Morris touchdown run. After the extra point, Stoughton took a 7-0 lead with 3:44 left in the first.
Mansfield faced a third and 12 on the third play of the ensuing possession and Adam Leonard, at middle linebacker, sacked Hornets quarterback Kyle Wisnieski, forcing a fumble, which Shawn Connolly recovered, giving Stoughton the ball at the Mansfield 5.
Three players later, Morris scored his second touchdown of the game. The extra point attempt failed, but Stoughton took a 13-0 lead with 1:39 left in the opening quarter.
"We did not execute very well early and gave them the big lead. They played great early and we didn't and got ourselves in a big hole on a tough weather night to come from behind," Redding said.
On the fourth possession, midway through the second quarter, the Hornets recorded their first first down, and drove the ball from their own 21 to Stoughton's 13.
Wisnieski came up with a first down pass and a 15-yard scamper, while Christopher Buchanan and Kevin Makie runs moved the chains. But pressure from Leonard forced an incomplete pass on third down and pressure from Connolly forced an incomplete pass on fourth down, with Mansfield turning the ball over on downs.
Two plays later, Morris scored his third touchdown of the game, an 86-yard run along the Stoughton sideline. The two-point attempt failed, but Stoughton went up 19-0 with 1:35 left in the first half.
Stoughton extended the lead in the second half. On Stoughton's second possession of the third quarter, the Black Knights capped a 67-yard drive with Morris' fourth touchdown, this one from six yards out. The extra point was blocked, but the Black Knights were up 25-0 with 3:15 left in the quarter.
Mansfield responded with a 70-yard touchdown drive. Robert Rapoza, who up until this point had been contained by the Stoughton defense, picked up a key 20-yard run on 4th and 8 from the Stoughton 29, keeping Mansfield's drive alive. The Stoughton defense pushed the Hornets back a couple of yards, but Makie scored on third down from 10 yards out.
The extra-point failed, leaving the Hornets trailing by 19, 25-6, with 7:35 left in the game.
Mansfield, which struggled to find an offensive rhythm all game, was kept off the board the rest of the way.
Stoughton was successfully able to limit Mansfield offensive threats Wisnieski, Rapoza, Michael Hershman and company, forcing the four aforementioned turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble) and holding Mansfield to less than 200 yards.
Stoughton only turned the ball over once (Brian Spillane recorded the interception).
Redding gave credit to the Stoughton defensive line and linebackers, but thought the secondary made the difference.
"I thought the key was their secondary kids, especially [Aaron] Mack coming down hill and making a lot of plays," Redding said. "It looked like at times we had plays open but those defensive backs came down and instead of a 7-8 yard gain, it was only a couple yard gain."
Stoughton has its first Hockomock League Davenport Division (small schools) contest next Friday, Oct. 5 at home against Foxborough (3-1). Foxborough is fresh off an upset win over North Attleboro. Mansfield, meanwhile, returns home next Friday and looks to rebound against 4-0 Attleboro in the first Hockomock League Kelly-Rex Division (large schools) game for either school.
Josh Brown contributed reporting.