The George Mason Mustangs varsity football team lost 28-21 to the Madison County Mountaineers at home Friday night.
The loss drops the Mustangs to 1-4 on the season.
The game started off slow as both the Mustangs and Mountaineers struggled to get anything established offensively.
The Mountaineers offense made the first big play of the game near the end of the first quarter, when junior quarterback Dustin Farmer connected with senior wide receiver Travis Warren on a 45 yard pass play. The first quarter ended in a scoreless tie.
The second quarter started with the Mountaineers on the Mustangs 38 yard line with a first down. The Mustangs caught a break as the Mountaineers drive ended with a missed field goal. The Mustangs offense couldn’t get anything going and had to punt the football after another three-and-out possession.
The Mountaineers had great field position at their own 46 yard line to start their next drive. The Mustangs defense appeared to be on the verge of forcing the Mountaineers to punt after senior William Amaya sacked quarterback Dustin Farmer to setup a third down and ten. The Mountaineers executed a hook and ladder play to perfection on third down that put them deep into Mustangs territory.
With that play, the Mountaineers were in the endzone a couple steps later when junior running back Maurice Gentry scored the games first touchdown with 4:50 left in the first half. The next Mustangs possession lasted all of two plays before senior Travis Warren intercepted a Grant Hagler pass.
The Mountaineers offense was back in business at the Mustangs 33 yard line with 3:13 left in the half. The Mountaineers cashed in on their good fortune with another touchdown and took a 14-0 lead into halftime.
The Mustangs received the opening kick of the second half, but the offense still couldn’t get anything going and had to punt. The Mountaineers started their first drive of the second half on their own 32 yard line with 8:22 left in the third quarter and firmly in control of the game, but not for long.
The Mustangs defense stepped up and provided the spark needed to get the team going by forcing a fumble that was recovered by sophomore Jacob Eye. That was a huge play and it energized the entire Mustangs team as well as their fans.
The Mustangs offense didn’t waste anytime making the Mountaineers pay for their mistake. Sophomore running back Connor Rhodes ripped of a big run to set the Mustangs up with a first and goal inside the Mountaineers 10 yard line. On the very next play Mustangs senior running back Bryce Cooper plowed his way into the endzone for a touchdown with 7:14 left in the third quarter.
Then the Mustangs special teams unit made a big play by blocking a punt and junior Jakob Hirsch returning it for the game tying touchdown. The third quarter ended with the teams tied at 14 and the Mustangs had seized control of the game.
As the fourth quarter started the Mountaineers were in Mustangs territory and driving to regain the lead, but the defense forced another turnover. The Mustangs were on their own seven yard line and facing a third and long when the Mountaineers defense scored a touchdown off an interception.
On the next Mustangs possession senior Stephen Lubnow had a 23 yard run and then a couple of plays later Lubnow scored the game tying touchdown on a 14 yard run with 4:06 left in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs defense had made some huge plays throughout the second half as the team rallied to tie the game. They needed one more and were unable to get it as the Mountaineers scored the winning touchdown with 16 seconds left.
The Mustangs will be on the road at Strasburg High School Friday night at 7:30.