MANSFIELD (KFSM) - For the first time in years, Mansfield enters the season with a target on its back after an 8-4 season and fighting to the second round of playoffs.
"Knowing what it took to get to where we were last year, and then trying to improve on that this year. It's just trying to keep building on that momentum, and just trying to repeat what we've done," head coach Tim Cothran said of his talent-packed team.
"That switch flipped quite a bit," wide receiver/corner Layton Howard added. "We're all seniors this year. Same group of people, same motivation, same attitude. It's just been great."
The Tigers enter this season with even more confidence. 14 seniors bring experience and leadership every time they step foot on the field.
"We've got a lot of those guys that are three year starters," Coach Cothran mentioned. "They can make those in-game adjustments easier and be able to modify and adapt and adjust and do what they need to do."
"We've been together since fifth, sixth grade - so we all have a good chemistry together, we work good together," wide receiver/corner Clay James added.
All-state quarterback Ethan Stovall leads the team after a breakout year, completing 60 percent of his passes for 2,309 yards and 26 touchdowns. He added an additional 579 rushing yards with 12 TDs. This year, the sights are set even higher.
"My personal goals are over 3,000 yards passing and then probably up around over 500 yards rushing again," Stovall mentioned on what he hopes to accomplish this year. "Just have some insane games, like 7 TD passes in games. I want to set the Arkansas state record for passing yards in each season. I have a lot of goals. Everything's on my mind right now."
Mansfield enters the season ranked second in the 3A-1, but the high praises don't change the team's mindset.
"No one expected us to win last year, so we've just got to have that same mentality," Stovall explained. "We can't go in to the season knowing we're good and cocky or anything like that, cause then we'll just end up last."
A team without much playoff history, looking to rewrite the script and showcase what the new Tigers can do.
Mansfield opens its season August 29th with a home game against Hackett. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM.