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Mansfield 27, King Philip 26

Mansfield gets past Warriors

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By Ryan Mooney
Globe Correspondent / October 1, 2011

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WRENTHAM - Two Hockomock heavyweights opened league play last night in Wrentham, and the result was a thriller.

King Philip recovered an onside kick in the fourth quarter and Charles Ruffin scored a touchdown with 44 seconds remaining to bring the Warriors within 1 point. But Mansfield’s defense denied No. 17 King Philip when the Warriors went for 2 points and the win, allowing the No. 7 Hornets to escape with a 27-26 victory.

King Philip (3-1) started the fourth quarter trailing, 21-7, but quarterback John Dillon began to find a rhythm and got the Warriors back in the game. He finished 13 of 29 for 193 yards and two touchdowns.

Dillon brought the Warriors to within 7 on an 11-yard toss to Michael Viola with just over eight minutes remaining. Mansfield answered three minutes later on an 11-yard Gregory Donahue run - his second touchdown of the game - but King Philip kept fighting.

The Warriors got the ball back with five minutes remaining and drove from their 22 to the Mansfield 10 on three Dillon completions - including one on fourth and 9 - and a 16-yard run by Charles Ruffin. Dillon hit Ruffin with a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 27-20.

With 2:29 remaining the Warriors recovered an onside kick and promptly drove 47 yards - including a 32-yard pass from Dillon to Joe Cochrane on fourth and 19 - scoring on Ruffin’s 2-yard run. But a pass on the 2-point conversion attempt was broken up in the end zone.

“They made some great plays,’’ Mansfield coach Mike Redding said of the Warriors. “They did everything they could to win the game. No losers tonight, two great teams going toe-to-toe, great football game.’’

The Hornets (3-1) began their opening drive on the ground, bleeding six minutes off the clock with runs by Gregory Donahue and Michael Farrell. Donahue (15 carries, 117 yards) broke off a 33-yard touchdown run to give Mansfield a 7-0 lead with 4:51 left in the first quarter.

The lead would not last long, but would be regained after what can only be described as a jaw-dropping 30 seconds.

On the Warriors’ first play from scrimmage, Ruffin (21 carries, 156 yards) exploded up the middle for a 61-yard touchdown to even the score. He had 103 yards in the first half.

Not about to be upstaged, the Hornets ran a reverse on the first play of their ensuing possession. Donahue took the ball from quarterback George Busharis going to his left and handed it off to Blayne Taylor (8 carries, 89 yards), who went 57 yards for the touchdown. Michael Hershman’s extra-point was blocked, but Mansfield was back on top, 13-7.