When the Mansfield football team squares off against Arlington Lamar on Friday night, fans will get to witness two of the three top 4-6A football teams battle it out for what could be a shot at at district title.
Mansfield enters the game with a 3-0 mark in district competition, while Arlington Lamar is 2-1 in 4-6A conference play, and Tigers coach Dan Maberry said he expects nothing less than a dogfight when his team locks horns with the Vikings.
“Lamar is one of the best teams in the district,” Maberry said. “Coach (Laban) DeLay does a great job preparing his kids against any opponent. It’s gonna be a very tough game. We are going to have to play. They are good on both sides of the ball.”
Mansfield is coming off of a 47-28 victory over Arlington Martin last Friday in which Kennedy Brooks (Oklahoma) rushed for 319 yards and four touchdowns for the Tigers.
Lamar is looking to rebound this week after a 17-13 loss to Arlington last Friday, a game that the Vikings led into the third quarter.
Mansfield enters the game tied with Arlington Bowie for the top spot in District 4-6A, while Lamar is right on its heals tied for third place with Arlington.
The game is important from the standpoint of playoff positioning, but Maberry said that he does not want his team to look at it that way.
“Every district game is important,” Maberry said. “What makes this game important is how good Lamar is. We have play well to give ourselves an opportunity to be successful.”
The Tigers will have to slow Lamar running back Rashod Polk, who has rushed for 531 yards and six touchdowns this season, to put themselves in the best position to win.
Another athlete Mansfield will have to account for is Vikings defensive back Kolby Underwood, who returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown against Sam Houston on Sept. 22 and a punt 34 yards for a touchdown against North Crowley on Sept. 30.
Maberry said for Mansfield to put itself in the best position to win, it will take his players focusing on doing their jobs more than anything else.
“We have to continue to improve on both sides of the ball,” Maberry said. “I think we just have worry about ourselves and continue to get better.”
Mansfield will host Lamar at 7:30 p.m. Friday at R.L. Anderson Stadium.