George Mason High School’s 2018 football season came to a close last week when the Mustangs lost 35-12 to Madison County High School on the road.
It was an unceremonious end to the year for Mason (2-7). After rifling off two consecutive wins to start the year (both of which were shutouts, mind you) Mason dropped seven straight and squandered an outside chance to crack into the Class 2 Region B playoffs. Not exactly the end to the season anyone wanted, but a young Mustang team that graduated a bevy of seniors in 2017 was able to rediscover its strength in the run game in the past few weeks, putting a positive spin on what’s to come in 2019.
“Not being able to run certainly hurt us throughout the season but over the last two games against Clarke and Madison we got a few things going on the ground being about to rush about 200 yards in each of those games,” Mason head coach Adam Amerine said. “It’s a good sign leading into 2019 so we are excited about that aspect of the offense.”
Just as it was against Clarke County two weeks ago, two bad drives put the Mustangs in a bind they couldn’t escape against Madison County.
After both teams punted to end their first offensive possessions, the Mountaineers got into a rhythm during their second go around and put seven on the board. Mason, looking to strike back quick, elected to pass with freshman quarterback Evans Rice. In his effort trying to move the ball, Rice threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, effectively taking the wind out of the Mustangs’ sails.
Although trailing 14-0, Mason still sparred with Madison County. Junior wingback Michael Turner took over rushing duties for the night and scored a touchdown in the second quarter while tallying 152 yards on the ground throughout the game. Junior running back Connor Plaks would also find the endzone in the second quarter, however, so did the Mountaineers, who built their lead to 28-12 by halftime.
The second half was fairly uninteresting. Madison County tacked on another score, but the Mustangs were held in check offensively, bringing the game to its final margin.
It’s the second time in three years that Mason was only able to muster two wins in a season, the last coming in 2016 (2-8).
Yet even with the unwelcome results, Amerine is hopeful that once this team matures in another year it’ll bear some greater returns.
“Some of the young kids got valuable playing experience that will hopefully help their confidence heading into next season [but] we need to get stronger in the off season and understand some of our football concepts a little better going into August,” Amerine added. “We as coaches really like some of the young talent. We just need to build it and surround them with a few more players.”