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— HARMONY GROVE— The Harmony Grove Hornets knocked the Mansfield Tigers out of the Class 3A High School football playoffs in a 56-33 shootout at Bill Manning Field on Friday night.

Coach Tim Cothran’s Tigers won the toss and opted to receive the opening kick. After the kick they set up shop at the Harmony Grove 48 and put together an 8 play drive that ended with a turnover on downs at the Hornets’ 16 yard line.

Coach Ernie Horstcamp’s team responded with a 6 play drive that produced a touchdown on an 11 yard run by QB Zach Smith with 7:43 to play in the first quarter. The 2 point play was unsuccessful leaving the score 6-0.

After the kick Mansfield started on their own 39 yard line. They scored three plays later on a 66 yard pass from QB Ethan Stovall to WR Layton Howard with 6:48 to play in the first. The PAT was successful. The visitors led 7-6.

Harmony Grove took little time for a response. After the kick they took just 2 plays to score when RB Mecca Arnold scored on a 20 yard run at 6:06 in the first quarter. RB Xaylon Falls scored the 2 point conversion giving the Hornets the lead for good at 14-7.

The Tigers could not score on a 9 play drive that ended with a turnover on downs at the Hornets’ 39 yard line. The home team had to punt on a three and out. Mansfield mounted a 7 play drive that also ended in a punt.

The Hornets would score in one play on an 81 yard dash by Arnold with 9:57 to go in the first half. He also scored on the 2 point play which increased the lead to 22-7.

Mansfield took the kick and set up at the Hornets’ 36 yard line. They needed just 4 plays to score on a 15 yard pass play from Stovall to Howard once agin. The PAT was successful pulling them with 8 points, 22-14 with 9:01 to go in the second quarter.

Harmony Grove responded on the second play of their next possession when Falls scored on a 58 yard run with 8:02 to go in the first half. Arnold scored the 2 point try increasing the lead to 30-14.

The Tigers punted on their next possession as did Harmony Grove. Mansfield turned the ball over on downs on their next offensive series, but he Hornets turned the ball over on a fumble in their next possession. The visitors put together a 7 play drive that ended with an interception that was run back to the Hornets’ 42 yard line.

On the next play from scrimmage Falls caught a pass from Smith taking it 58 yards for a touchdown with no time left in the half. The 2 point attempt failed leaving the Hornets’ lead at 36-14 at halftime.

Neither team scored in the third quarter. Harmony Grove had one possession that ended with a fumble on the Mansfield 14 yard line. The Tigers put together a 20 play drive that resulted in a touchdown with 11:40 to go in the contest when Stovall scored from 1 yard out. The PAT was good, cutting the Hornets’ lead to 36-21.

After the ensuing kick Harmony Grove took only 4 plays to score when Arnold took a pass from Smith 35 yards for a touchdown with 9:32 to go in the game. The 2 point attempt failed, but the home team led 42-21.

The Tigers received the kick and set their offense at the Hornets’ 4o yard line. 7 plays later they scored on a 22 yard pass from Stovall to WR Tyler Holmes. This time the PAT failed leaving the score 42-27 in favor of the home team.

The Hornets took the kick and set up at their own 44 yard line. 3 plays later WR Damion Daniels caught a pass from Smith, and took it 60 yards to the end zone with 3:52 to go in the game. The 2 point conversion attempt failed leaving the score 48-27.

Mansfield took advantage of great field position after a Hornet penalty to score in just one play. It was a 30 yard pass from Stovall to Howard with just 3:37 to go in the game. The PAT failed. The Hornets led 48-33.

Jeremie Edwards score on a 40 yard run with 1:41 to go in the contest. He also scored the 2 point attempt setting the final margin of victory for Harmony Grove, 56-33.

The Tigers got good field position following the kick-off, bu their last drive ended with Damion Daniel intercepting a pass from Stovall on a play that originated at the Harmony Grove 6.

Coach Horstcamp said he was “proud of (his team’s) effort noting they had some “mishaps on defense,” but his team responded well to those big plays with plays of their own.

The victory lifts Harmony Grove’s record to 9-2 on the season. Mansfield finishes 7-4 overall.

The Hornets will host a second round playoff game next Friday night at 7:00 at Bill Manning Field. Kick-off is 7:00. They will face a 10-1 Clinton squad that defeated Smackover on Friday night.

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