Well-rested Many starts district play at Mansfield

MANSFIELD – When Many and Mansfield tee it up to start District 3-2A play this week, both teams will have a zero in their records. 


The Tigers (4-0) happen to have the zero on the opposite side as the Wolverines (0-5), but the overall records don’t paint an accurate picture of the test Class 2A No. 1 Many could be in for this week. 


Mansfield has a pair of one-score losses to Class 4A Evangel (42-38 loss) and Class 1A Ouachita Christian (27-20 loss), forces in their own classifications. 


On the flip side, the Wolverines haven’t been competitive the last two weeks against Class 1A Logansport (52-8 loss) or Calvary Baptist (52-6). 


Coming in well rested after a Week 5 bye, Many coach Jess Curtis knows the Tigers won’t be able to sleep walk against an athletic Mansfield bunch. 


“I see a team (Mansfield) that has played a tough schedule and has played some very good teams very well,” Curtis said. “They will have our attention, and we will be ready. We had some bumps and bruises that the bye week helped heal. We worked on some things that we needed to clean up. We returned to practice Monday ready to go.” 


Entering the bye week, Many was one of the hottest teams in the state after a 4-0 start that included wins against Class 2A No. 2 Isidore Newman (and top-ranked quarterback prospect Arch Manning) and Class 5A Haughton. 


The bye week nearly divided Many’s season evenly as the Tigers start a five-week district slate in search of their ninth straight district title and carry a 29-game district winning streak into the fray. 


“Yes we had a lot of momentum, and we need to get back after it Friday and create momentum for the second half of the season,” Curtis said. “We expect a tough contest to start district play.” 


In its 29-game district winning streak, close games haven’t been a common occurrence. Just one of those wins (a one-point win against Winnfield in 2019) have come by one score with only handful being a two-score margin. 


The Many defense, especially its secondary, has suffocated opponents all season, including holding Manning to under 100 passing yards. 


The Tigers grind opponents down with its powerful rushing offense which averages 372 yards per game. 


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