While the Luray team bus might have broken down en route to George Mason High School last Wednesday night, the team’s offense worked just fine. And despite a fast start, the George Mason High School freshman football team lost a 28-26 heartbreaker in overtime.
Freshman James Bledsoe put the Mustangs on the board first with a 60-yard touchdown run, but Luray answered with a 40-yard drive to knot the score at 6-6.
In the second quarter, Mason lost freshman quarterback Quinn Casteel for the game because of a bruised knee cap. He was replaced by freshman Ben Stewart who promptly connected with freshman running back Ben Taylor on a beautifully timed scoring pass to put Mason up 13-6, including a successful kick after touchdown.
The Luray Bulldogs scored again with less than four minutes remaining in the half on a nearly uncontested 20-yard pass for a touchdown. But the Luray 2 point conversion failed enabling the Mustangs to maintain a slim 13-12 lead at the half.
The second half began with Luray methodically pounding the ball straight up the middle, forcing a defensive adjustment by Mason that left the edge of the field open for a successful quarterback option and Luray’s third touchdown. A successful two point conversion put the Bulldog’s up 20-13. Mason collected its composure – but a goal-line interception by the Bulldogs derailed a potential Mustang scoring drive.
The Mustang defense made a pair of stands after a fumbled punt gave the ball back to Luray, but when Mason’s offense finally retook the field, Bledsoe repeated his first quarter feat and took the ball 69 yards to pay dirt. With a successful conversion the score was tied at 20-20.
Just before the end of regulation Mason’s Ben Taylor fell on a Luray fumble at midfield, giving George Mason a chance to score with only two minutes left in the game. Try as they could the Mustangs could not score again forcing the overtime.
High School overtime rules are similar to college overtime rules, with each team given four plays to score from 10 yards out. Mason got first opportunity and Bledsoe scored on its first play, but could not convert the point-after-touchdown giving Mason a 26-20 lead. Like Mason, Luray scored on its first play and with a successful two-point conversion making the final score 28-26 in favor of Luray.
Mason Head Coach LaBryan Thomas had nothing but high praise for his team. “Yes we lost but the coaching staff is very pleased. We had lots of good blocking and great work in particular by our offensive line,” Thomas said.
The next game for the Mason freshman football team is next Wednesday, October 11 at Bull Run District rival Madison County.