Mansfield High School quarterback Kyle Wisnieski and Attleboro High School quarterback Tim Walsh each put on a show in what turned out to be an offensive battle for the ages.
"I think both teams are pretty good defensively and played pretty good," Mansfield coach Michael Redding said. "But.. you get into a nice weather night and you get into the fourth or fifth week of the year when both offenses are clicking, it’s just hard to stop people when you’ve got kids pulling the trigger like Kyle [Wisnieski] and Timmy Walsh."
In the end Wisnieski's squad got the best of the Blue Bombardiers. With the 49-42 win, Mansfield, ranked No. 1 in the state by ESPN Boston, stayed undefeated and improved to 4-0.
The Blue Bombardiers dropped to 3-1 on the year but proved they can beat anyone."[Mansfield is] a good football team but I think people recognize that we’re a good football team tonight," Attleboro coach Mike Strachan said. "It was a battle of the titans."
Mansfield's Wisnieski finished the game 21 of 28 passing for 341 yards. He threw three touchdowns and ran for another while throwing one interception.
Attleboro's Walsh finished 18 of 28 passing for 339 yards. He threw a whopping 6 touchdowns and one interception.
Walsh's first ball to the endzone came on just the second play from scrimmage when he hit junior speedster Damon Belin on a post route. A Mike Cannata (perfect 6 for 6 on the night) PAT gave Big Blue an early 7-0 lead.
As if to foreshadow what was to come, though, Mansfield immediately marched down the field and capped a 70-yd drive with a Miguel Villar-Perez touchdown to tie the game, 7-7.
Belin then added another first quarter touchdown from 66 yds out on a screen Just five minutes into the game, the score was already 14-7.
The second quarter was all about Mansfield.
Hornets runningback Alex Ruddy scored on the ground and Wisnieski hit wideouts Brendan Hill and Villar-Perez in the endzone to take a commanding two-score lead into the half.
Big Blue came out swinging in the second half, though.
"We could have done one or two things at halftime," Strachan said. "We could have packed it in or we could have come back. I’m very proud of the way we came back."
Walsh hit wideout Luke Morrison for a 23-yard touchdown to start the half. Then, after Attleboro's Ross Killon recovered a Mansfield fumble on the subsequent kickoff, Walsh found receiver Tom Burns, who made a one handed grab in traffic then ran another 15-yards to the endzone to put Attleboro ahead, 28-26.
"There was just two or three points for either team to just throw in the towel and say ‘OK we’ve got them and neither team quit," Redding said. "They battled back. It was just an amazing game. I’d like to sit down and look at it again because I forgot what happened. It felt like at halftime we had played a full game already and the second half was more entertaining than the first."
After Attleboro took the lead, Mansfield responded quickly, marching 69 yards down the field, capping the drive with a Wisnieski rushing touchdown. Wisnieski found Kyle Hurley later in the third quarter for a touchdown and Villar-Parez once again found the endzone to start the fourth quarter, giving the Hornets another commanding 49-28 lead with just over 10-minutes left in the game.
As they had all game, though, the Blue Bombardiers bounced back in the fourth quarter.
On the next drive, Walsh hit Morrison from 21-yards out to cut the lead to 14.
Then, a Mansfield 3-and-out allowed Walsh to put on a clinic midway through the fourth. The senior gunslinger started Big Blue on their own 31-yard line and threw six straight complete passes to four different receivers, ending in a 7-yard touchdown pass to Burns.
Although Attleboro's Belin picked a Mansfield-thrown ball on the next set of downs, the Blue Bombardiers just ran out of time.
"When do you score 49 and have to hang on to win at the end?," Redding said. "Just great football. They oughta be so proud of themselves. We’re proud of our guys."
Because Mansfield plays in Div. 2 and Attleboro plays in Div. 1 of the new playoff format, the two teams won't see each other in the playoffs.
"I’m just glad we don’t play them again because they’re Division I and we’re Division II and we can go our separate ways," Redding said. "I don’t think I want them the rest of the year."
4-0 Mansfield will host Taunton next Friday at 7 p.m.
3-1 Attleboro will host rival North Attleboro next Friday at 7 p.m.