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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.

Mansfield Returns 14 Seniors After Breakout Season

“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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Mansfield opens its season August 29th with a home game against Hackett. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM.

Back to School | Spotting stress, anxiety and ways to help your child

MAUMELLE, Arkansas — Students in central Arkansas wrapped up their first week of school Friday, but with a new school year comes stress.

At Maumelle High School, Assistant Principal Laconya Isaac said the Pulaski County Special School District is getting more involved with students with new programs: AVID and PBIS.

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“PBIS, Positive Behavior Intervention Support, and that is a way to teach children what it is supposed to be like to behave the way we expect them to in an educational environment,” Isaac said.

High school is a stressful place and Isaac said the district wants to make sure students feel comfortable walking the hallways.

“We’re not trying to be their best friend, but at the same time, we do want to continue to guide them and nurture them and be there for them so that we can notice if there is something going on, we can be there to help,” she said.

Isaac said parents and teachers need to be on the lookout for signs of anxiety and stress. She said lethargic behavior or a change in friends could be a sign there’s something going on. Less interest in classwork is another warning sign to watch out for.

“I would say if that is not the normal behavior of that student, then we want to start checking on things and getting a little more active,” Isaac said.

Isaac said parents also need to step in and starting talking to their kids more often.

“Especially at the high school level it is way more important for parents to be more involved instead of be hands off because this is the time the teenage years, they’re still trying to find themselves,” Isaac said. “This our last opportunity, parents and school, to get them ready for life past 18.”

Parents should also stay on top of their child’s social media. She recommends checking their pages at least once a week.

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“The peer pressure for students is way different. When we were younger, it was right in our face. We were all verbal. We were face to face with it. There’s a whole lot more peer pressure behind the scenes,” Issac said. “So, I still think there’s the peer pressure to keep up with what we’re wearing and who our friends are, that hasn’t changed, but because of social media it’s been elevated.”

Isaac said teachers at Maumelle High School have also gone through training to help identify signs that a student may be struggling.

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If you’re a parent you already know that today was the first day back to school for many students in Central Arkansas and kids at McDermott Elementary are excited to be back.