UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas — Down 24-20 with 31 seconds left, Frisco Lone Star had set the scene for what could have been a spectacular way to punch its ticket to the state semifinals.
Quarterback MJ Rivers — who had delivered on a crucial fourth down situation on the drive prior to give Lone Star the then go-ahead score — looked to do the same once more with the game on the line during Saturday’s matchup with Mansfield Legacy High School at Gerald Ford Stadium.
Facing a fourth &and 10 on the Legacy 25-yard line, Rivers delivered the cadence and took the snap but was met with immediate pressure from the Legacy defensive front.
Legacy had Rivers wrapped up for a sack. In a last-second gasp of desperation Rivers tossed it up on the way down — and right into the hand of Mansfield Legacy defender Jarred Hopper to seal the victory and send the Bronco sideline into a frenzy with the 24-20 victory in their clutches.
“I couldn’t ask for a better game, to prove to yourself one more time,” Mansfield Legacy Head Coach Chris Melson said. “‘Hey! We can overcome! We can do it! We’re going to win this sucker!’ I mean you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity and these kids took advantage of it.”
After playing from behind in the score column all game long, Frisco Lone Star finally took their first lead of the game when quarterback MJ Rivers on 4th and 6 delivered a pump fake towards his outside target, scanned his receivers downfield and found receiver Ife Opere screaming across near the back of the end zone to cradle a 9-yard touchdown pass that put Lone Star up 20-17 following a successful 2-point conversion with 4:46 left to play.
With the lead all game finally being surrendered in the winding stages of the game, Mansfield Legacy knew that crunch time was upon them and that they would have to respond to the challenge one step at a time.
“[When] I was talking to my quarterback Jalen [Catalon], I said, ‘Jalen, listen. Keep your composure. Stay calm. We’re going to find a way to get it done against them. We don’t have to do it all at once, just hang in there and something is going to happen and we are going to win this game,'” Melson said to Catalon before his signal caller led the offense back on to the field.
Starting from their own 19, Catalon carved out the distance needed in just three plays. He maneuvered around the pocket and zipped a ball near midfield that hit Randy Wright in stride and allowed him to do the rest as Legacy regained the lead on a 66-yard touchdown with 3:25 left to play that proved to be the decisive score.
Catalon finished with 77 passing yards and one passing touchdown and rushed for 49 yards and a score. Mansfield Legacy scored first thanks to the efforts of their dual-threat quarterback who on their second offensive series, had runs of 18, 9 and 39-yards to help set up an easy 1-yard touchdown run to put Legacy up first 7-0.
Following the score, Frisco Lone Star responded with a 14-play scoring drive that had kicker Jacob Click hit a 31-yard field goal to have the scoreboard read 7-3 with 10:39 left in the second quarter.
Legacy’s leading rusher was Isaiah Jones with 151 yards whose 66-yard touchdown run in the second quarter following the Lone Star field goal had Mansfield Legacy up 14-3 at the 9:12 mark. The Bronco defense had kept Rivers in check up to that point of the game and limited the dangerous Lone Star offense as they forced Lone Star to punt on back-to-back series following their field goal.
The offense was finally able to generate some momentum however as Marvin Mims ran across the middle of the field and took Rivers’ pass 75 yards to the house to put the game at 14-9 with 2:28 before the half. Lone Star got the ball once more before the end of the half following a punt but Rivers pass attempt from the 49 towards the end zone was picked off to send the game into intermission with the 14-9 score.
Lone Star came out the gate hot to begin the second half but Mansfield Legacy’s defense stiffened up and stalled Lone Star’s drive that resulted in a field goal to put the game at 14-12 with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Ife Adeyi would hit a 31-yard field goal that was set up by a blocked punt by DeMauryon Holmes that put Legacy in scoring position and had them up 17-12.
Lone Star would then respond with the then go-ahead score and a huge shift in momentum but Mansfield Legacy would get the best of Lone Star as they advance to the state semifinals where they are set to play Aledo at2 p.m. next Saturday at Pennington Field.
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