Lavaca’s Anthony Todaro spent most of the night breaking the backs of the Mansfield Tigers with his legs.
Then his 30-yard touchdown reception from Hayden Headley with 1:13 turned out to be the winner as the Golden Arrows held on for a 22-19 win.
“This is our first road win of the year,” Lavaca coach Mark Headley said. “We’ve played Lamar tough on the road and we’ve played Paris tough on the road, but we haven’t gotten over the hump.”
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Todaro finished with 150 yards rushing on 27 carries. He’s one of a handful of Lavaca seniors.
“This is big for these seniors,” Headley said. “These seniors have had a rough last few years. For them to get five (wins) and make the playoffs is a big deal for us.”
Hayden Headley had almost become an afterthought at quarterback as the Golden Arrows moved briskly up and down the field with both Todaro and Coby Graves taking direct snaps. But with the Golden Arrows facing third-and-10, Mark Headley decided to go for it all.
“The way that game was going, I figured that we needed some points right there,” Mark Headley said. “Our defense played excellent all night, but with that ball-control offense they have we didn’t get a whole lot of possessions. We talked about this being a playoff game for us and it started this week.”
Lavaca (5-4, 3-3) withstood a late Christian Saygnaphay touchdown pass to Joe Mathis with 23 seconds left, which cut the lead to three. But Hayden Headley pounced on the onside kick and then took a knee to run out the clock.
The game could have just as easily gone in favor of the Tigers, who missed out on a golden opportunity late in the half.
Facing a second-and-goal from the Golden Arrows’ 5, but out of timeouts, Saygnaphay scrambled to the 1 as the first half clock expired.
“We didn’t spike the football there, I thought we got a play in,” Mansfield coach Brandon Elmore said. “It was poor clock management there at the end and that’s on me. We left one out there and it came back to bite us.”
The Golden Arrows took the opening kickoff and kept the ball for nearly nine minutes. Keyed by two long runs by Todaro, Lavaca reached the Mansfield 6 before failing to convert on fourth and goal. The Tigers then drove to midfield before punting back to the Golden Arrows.
Starting from its 39, Lavaca moved swiftly for its first score. Mansfield contributed to the drive with two personal foul penalties.
Headley’s 7-yard run with 8:26 to play in the half put the the Golden Arrows ahead 7-0. Mansfield’s Jeffrey Bartlett scored the first of his two touchdowns to tie the game at halftime.
Todaro’s 11-yard run in the third quarter put Lavaca back in front for good.
Brackett’s second TD cut the lead to 14-13, but the Saygnaphay — who handles the kicking duties — missed the PAT attempt with 1:58 left in the third quarter. The game remained close until Headley’s touchdown to Todaro.
“I was very proud of our effort,” Elmore said. “We fought to the end, even when a lot of things weren’t going our way.”
SUMMARY — Lavaca senior Anthony Todaro ran for one TD and caught a 30-yard touchdown pass with 1:13 left to play go cap a 22-19 win against Mansfield.
TURNING POINT — Facing fourth-and-10 from the Mansfield 30, Lavaca quarterback Hayden Headley hit Todaro with the winning touchdown pass.
STAT — Todaro accounted for 187 total yards by running for 150, catching a pass for 30 and throwing a 7-yard completion.
Lavaca 0 7 7 8 — 22
Mansfield 0 7 6 6 — 19
Lav — Headley 7 run (Brown kick), 8:26
Man — Bartlett 1 run (Saygnaphay kick), 2:15
Lav — Todaro 11 run (Brown kick), 5:089
Man — Brackett 2 run (kick blocked), 1:58
Lav — Todaro 30 pass from Headley (Morris run), 1:13
Man — Mathis 9 pass from Saygnaphay (kick failed), 0:23
First Downs 19 13
Rushes-Yards 52-252 37-173
Passing 57 102
Comp-Att-Int 4-7-0 7-17-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 8-85 3-32
Punts-Avg. 1-17.0 3-30.3
RUSHING — Lavaca, Todaro 27-150, Brown 8-38, Headley 6-33, Graves 10-27, Niemann 1-4. Mansfield, Ellis 21-98, Bartlett 14-61, Saygnaphay 2-14.
PASSING — Lavaca, Headley 3-6-0, Todaro 1-1-0. Mansfield, Saygnaphay 7-17-0.
RECEIVING — Lavaca, Todaro 1-30, Voss 2-20, Grave s 1-7. Mansfield, Nason 3-58, Mathis 3-30, Bartlett 1-14.