The George Mason High School varsity football team improved its overall record to 4-4 with a 22-0 victory last Friday night against Clarke County High School beneath an unrelenting rain and with temperatures in the mid-40s.
It is the first time the George Mason High School record has been at .500 since week two. With slippery footing and a wet ball, both teams worked hard to sustain scoring drives. Fumbles derailed potential Mustang scoring drives in both the first and second quarter, but in the second half Mason didn’t turn the ball over once, while the Mustang defense produced four Eagle turnovers.
Mason started the game by fumbling on its first possession, but its defense refused to yield when Clarke drove the ball 73 yards in 15 plays to Mason’s four yard line, and forced the Eagles to relinquish the ball. Sparked by the defensive stand, the Mustangs drove 96 yards on 14 plays, culminating in an 11-yard touchdown run by sophomore Antoneo Folks. A two-point conversion by sophomore Joel Chandler on a sweep to the left side, put Mason up 8-0, a score that stood through the end of the third quarter.
In the final two minutes of the third quarter, Mason senior Eddie Huber recovered a fumble on the Clarke 26 yard line and six plays later sophomore Charlie Mann scored from one yard out to give Mason a 14-0 lead to start the final quarter.With a two-score lead in hand, the Mustang defense locked down the victory. In the second half, senior Cody Roden-Reynolds recovered a fumble and made an interception (he also had an interception in the first half), and senior Judah Chandler contributed by picking off a fourth-quarter pass deep inside Clarke territory. Two plays after Judah Chandler’s interception, Huber capitalized on the turnover with a 16-yard touchdown run. Joel Chandler concluded the scoring by bulling the ball up the middle for a successful two-point conversion making the final score 22-0.With the weather a major factor, the Mustangs leaned heavily on their running game. Huber was the workhorse, with Folks, Joel Chandler, Charlie Mann, junior quarterback Michael Schwengel and sophomore John Mann also contributing to Mason’s running totals.
Unofficially, Clarke produced 126 total yards for the game, while Mason generated 284 total yards.
“Our running backs are in motion a lot and our quarterback pitches the ball to them,” Mason Head Coach Tom Horn said. “We have a lot of young running backs and they performed well in the field conditions we played in.”
Asked about the team’s progress and that of the team’s younger players, Horn said, “
“Some of the injuries earlier in the year got younger players more time on the field. In some cases players moved significantly up the depth chart. The advantage is that in games like this, when you need to do some substituting, you can do so, knowing players can come in and play at varsity speed.”
Friday night is George Mason’s last home game of the season, as they face Manassas Park. With both teams undefeated in league play, the game could ultimately decide the district champion. Both teams arrive with momentum — the Cougars have won four straight, the Mustangs have won three straight. The Cougar-Mustang contests over the past five years have been pivotal games in the Bull Run District. The Cougars have held the upper hand in these games and also come into this game with 20 straight wins in the Bull Run District. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
• Friday’s game against Manassas Park has been selected as a nominee by Fox 5 for its high school game of the week. In current voting, the Mason game is second, with 39.6 percent of the vote. DeMatha Catholic High School’s game against Good Counsel currently leads with about 49 percent. You can place your vote by visiting www.myfoxdc.com/myfox/pages/Sports/Detail?contentId=1189847&version=11&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=6.1.1 .