MANSFIELD — Waco High fell to Mansfield, 37-13, Friday night in a game halted with 4:45 left in the fourth quarter when a Waco High School football player, who was back in Waco and not in attendance for the game, was found to have tested positive for COVID-19 virus, causing the officials to call the game after meeting with both coaches.
After a brief 10-minute discussion, the official held up the football in the air, signifying that the game was over and both teams and the officials hurried off the field.
The Lions fell to 1-4 overall, 0-2 in District 11-6A. The Tigers improved to 3-3, 2-1.
Waco High School principal James Stewart, Jr. called Waco officials in the fourth quarter at Vernon Newsom Stadium here to alert them of the positive test for the unnamed player. Waco coaches then alerted the officials, which led to the early ending.
There was no update late Friday how this could affect Waco High’s season going forward. Several schools in Waco ISD have already been slowed by the COVID-19 virus this year.
Before the early ending, the script for the Lions followed too much Mansfield running back Donerio Davenport in the second half and too little Waco offense.
Davenport scored on runs of 56, 60 and 24 yards in the big win and totaled more than 200 yards in the game. Waco High, which led 7-0 after an early first-quarter score, and trailed 21-13 at halftime, failed to score in the second half at Mansfield.
Waco High, seeking its first district win of the year, certainly didn’t waste much time getting into the scoring column on its first drive of the game.
The Lions took the opening kickoff at Vernon Newsome stadium and started to move the ball down the field. On third down, quarterback Sean Mooney swung a short pass to star receiver Braylon Martinez, who caught the ball on the left side of the field, cut down the left sideline, and was gone with a 74-yard swing pass touchdown.
Abraham Lira booted the extra point and Waco had its first lead at 7-0 with barely three minutes gone in the game.
Mansfield tied with game on its next possession with a big play of its own. Star running back Donerio Davenport broke up the middle of the field and scored on a speedy 56-yard run to tie the score at 7-7.
The Tigers surprised the Lions with an onside kick after their first score and quickly scored again, this time on a four-yard run by quarterback Hunt Young for a 14-7 lead.
But once again, Waco High bounced right back. The Lions took over the ball at their own 35 and moved smartly down the field on a 45-yard pass caught by Martinez and a 10-yard clutch catch by Remond O’Neal, which moved the ball to the Mansfield 3-yard-line.
After being pushed back on two straight plays, Waco’s Jaelyn Laster slammed up the middle, knocked down a Mansfield defender at the 1-yard-line and fell into the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point kick was blocked, but Waco High only trailed by a single point, 14-13.
After Mansfield scored on a long touchdown pass to increase the lead to 21-13, Waco had two more chances to score before halftime.
Lions linebacker Cameron Ancher recovered a fumble from Mansfield quarterback Young on the Waco 33 to stop a deep drive. Mooney broke up the middle for five yards on 3rd-and-7 to the Waco 40, but the Lions opted to punt on 4th-and-2.
Later in the second quarter, Waco High put together its most impressive drive since early in the game. Laster broke off runs of 12 and 17, the later where he shook off two tacklers for a long gain to the Mansfield 31.
But on next play, Martinez was called for offensive pass interference in the end zone, a seemingly questionable call, to push the Lions back. A sack of Mooney sent the Lions further past midfield and another punt followed.
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