The Goochland Bulldogs’ offense put up 24 points in the first half, and then cruised to a 31-14 victory.
The Bulldog running game was explosive in the first half, busting off four runs of over 20 yards in the first 24 minutes alone. Tailback M.J. Cox opened the scoring with an explosive 49-yard touchdown run down the Goochland sideline on the third play from scrimmage.
The Mason Mustangs were unable to answer despite executing fairly smoothly on offense. Junior quarterback George Kalantzis made his first varsity start, and led the Mustangs deep into Goochland territory on their first drive before a fumble quickly ended the push. Senior running back John Mann carried three times for 26 yards on the drive before having the ball knocked loose by a Bulldog linebacker.
The turnover proved costly for Mason, as Goochland quickly turned it into points. Directly following the fumble, junior running back Desmond Athey broke into the Mustang secondary for a 61-yard run up the middle before being taken from behind by a group of red jerseys. Athey suffered a serious leg injury on the play, and action was delayed for several minutes. Goochland was unfazed by the injury, and Willie Ezell promptly scored on a 10-yard run following the delay.
Down 14-0, Mason answered back with a seven-minute drive resulting in a two-yard John Mann touchdown run. Kalantzis was flawless on the drive, making a couple of intelligent passes to tight ends and running backs for short gains.
“George did an excellent job,” said junior running back/safety Ben Taylor who was teammates with Kalantzis on the Junior Varsity squad in 2007. “He showed a lot of poise for a quarterback making his first start at any level. He has worked really hard this year, and deserves this opportunity.”
On their first drive of the second quarter, Goochland responded with yet another touchdown drive, extending the lead to 21-7. This 80-yard drive was highlighted by a 57-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Carter to Cody Davis, and capped off by a 12-yard Carter scramble.
In an attempt to turn the game around, Mason Head Coach Tom Horn elected to try to convert a 4th and three just inside Bulldog territory with five minutes to go in the half. However, a Goochland defensive tackle jumped the snap count, and blew up the play in the backfield.
Goochland took over, and ended up tacking on a 33-yard field goal right before halftime. They went into the break with a 24-7 lead, a deficit that would remain till the end of the game.
The second half was much more of a defensive struggle as each team was only able to add a touchdown more apiece. “We moved the ball well, but early mistakes kept us out of the game,” noted Mustangs Captain Andrew Lieber.
Mason will start with a clean slate this Friday night when they take on Manassas Park to begin the Bull Run District season.
“It’s going to be a very good game,” said Lieber in anticipation of Friday’s home game. “We need to work very hard in practice to prepare for our first district game. It’s also homecoming so that makes it even more important.” The game starts at 7:30 p.m.