By Natalie Heavren
Another week, another win for George Mason High School’s football team which shut out Manassas Park High School 36-0 on Sept. 20.
Mason head coach Adam Amerine believes his team (2-2) has improved defensively, specifically improving at getting to the ball. However, he acknowledges that while the offense is moving the ball well, untimely holding penalties have put the team in difficult situations.
Going forward he hopes his team can cut down on the offensive penalties and close up the holes in their coverage as they prepare to face pass heavy teams in the coming weeks.
The Mustangs led 15-0 thanks to goal-to-go touchdown runs from senior running back Connor Plaks and sophomore running back and defensive back George Papadopoulos in the first and second quarter, respectively.
With a few seconds before the end of the first half, Mason found time to squeeze one more snap in that Amerine had kept for just an occasion.
“Three seconds left and we run one of our ‘special’ plays that we do not do very often and we executed it nicely with a great pass and catch from Robert Silva to Evans Rice as time expired and give us momentum into halftime.”
This play put the Mustangs up 22-0 and the team would go on to score two touchdowns in the third quarter.
Papadopoulos had another standout game for Mason.
“[He] played an outstanding game on Friday, leading the team in tackles, explosive on offense, and just pure hustle on kickoff team making a tackle and recovering a kick to gain us an extra possession early in the 3rd quarter,” said Amerine.
Offensively Papadopoulos rushed for 84 yards on nine attempts and to go with earlier score on the ground.
Plaks led the team in rushing with 106 yards on 21 attempts and a first-quarter rushing touchdown to set the tone for the rest of the game.
In addition to his passing touchdown, junior running back Silva rushed for 70 yards on 11 attempts and a third-quarter rushing touchdown.
Defensively sophomore linebacker Josh Stillwagoner and junior outside linebacker Nathaniel Jaramillo had standout performances. Stillwagoner had 11 tackles, including one for a loss and Jaramillo had seven tackles as well as an interception.
Amerine does not believe that anyone is individually stepping up, but rather the entire team is.
“We are practicing pretty well and the kids are starting to get in the routine with school and practice so we are able to focus for the two hours each day out on the football field and get some solid work in,” he said.
With Homecoming this week, Amerine knows it will be a demanding week in practice.
“This week is always a tough week for practice and focus with all the homecoming activities going on,” he said. “I believe our leaders will keep us focused on our goal of 1-0 each week and get our first home win of the season potentially.”
Amerine mentioned that a couple of players went down with potentially serious injuries and that more players may be in new positions on Friday.
The Mustangs return home to take on Sidwell Friends High School this Friday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.