The Mustangs were unable to find any rhythm on offense, slowed by a quick and intelligent Stonewall front seven. The undersized Stonewall linebackers swarmed Mason running backs all night, preventing them from finding any kind of comfort zone. Rather than chipping away at defenses with misdirection and counters, Mason was forced to count on big gains in order to keep their drives alive for much of the night.
“They did a good job forcing us into a lot of long yard situations,” noted Head Coach Tom Horn. “They made us call plays that were appropriate to the down and distance, and we weren’t able to execute a lot of the time.”
Senior running back John Mann accounted for Mason’s two touchdowns on carries of 1 and 31 yards, both coming in the third quarter.
While Mann capped off Mason’s two scoring drives, it was Junior Ben Taylor and Senior Joel Chandler who provided most of the yardage. A 30-yard pass from Taylor to Chandler early in the third quarter set up Mann’s 31-yard touchdown, and his one-yard plunge followed Taylor’s 55-yard sprint through the heart of the Generals defense with two minutes left in the third. Chandler however, was forced to leave the game late in the quarter with an injury that would not allow him to return. Following Chandler’s departure the offense was only able to generate two more first downs and failed to score again despite finding the end zone twice in the third quarter.
Stonewall did their scoring periodically, finding the end zone in three of the four periods.
“We just got beat,” said Horn. “Their guys just physically beat the guys we put out there.”
Though undersized, the Generals offensive line was able to open massive holes for their backs with aggressive blocking techniques. Their committed running game showcased a style of play parallel to that of Mason’s, but executed much more efficiently. Stonewall scored all four touchdowns on the ground and were rarely forced into passing situations.
Taylor and Charlie Mann created Mason’s lone turnover on defense. With Stonewall knocking on the door inside the five-yard line, using one hand, Taylor stripped Dawson who had a clear path at the end zone and Mann fell on the ball, ending the drive. The Mustangs quickly capitalized on the fumble with a flashy 98-yard touchdown drive, one of their few highlights of the evening.
Stonewall kicker Juan Guerrero gave his team an enormous boost in the special teams department, creating some poor field positions for the Mustang offense. Guerrero put one kickoff through the end zone for a touchback, and pinned Mason on their own six-yard line on another. He also connected on all four of his extra points. Guerrero’s kicks put a lot of pressure on the Mustang offense by placing a long field ahead of them on most drives while the Stonewall offense often faced a short one.
George Mason heads into its bye week 1-2 in non-district games, their lone win coming during week one against J.E.B Stuart High School. Having lost each of their last two games by at least 15 points, several players said they will enjoy the bye week but are also looking forward to Luray to prove they are better than they’ve played the past two games. Horn believes the team has been “physically handled” the past two weeks, and will have to focus on bettering themselves this week in practice before planning for their game in Luray on Sept. 26.
George Mason’s schedule does not get any easier after their bye week. After traveling to Luray they conclude non-district play with a home game against Goochland, one of the toughest single A teams in the state.