By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s varsity football team was routed by Central High School 59-17 last Friday, making Mason’s record 2-2 heading into a homecoming match up against Madison County High School this Friday. Head Coach Tony Green said mistakes cost the Mustangs a chance at beating the defending Bull Run District champs.
“We made some mistakes, but also they’re just a good football team,” Green said. “They took advantage of some mistakes we made, and we gave them some short fields sometimes and they just took advantage.”
The Mustangs took a 7-0 lead over the Falcons late in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run from senior running back Connor Rhodes. But the Falcons stormed back a minute later and scored on a 13-yard touchdown run from senior running back Daniel Molina.
On the Falcons’ kickoff after the score by Molina, junior wide receiver Alfonso Banks attempted to pitch the ball to a teammate, but it fell to the ground. Falcon senior running back Joshua Ingle picked up the loose ball and carried 23 yards to give Central a 12-7 score going into the second quarter.
The Falcons scored again on their first play of the second quarter. Senior quarterback Hayden Bauserman found senior wide receiver Travis Cooper for a 37-yard touchdown to put the Falcons ahead 18-7.
Towards the end of the half, Molina scored again on an 86-yard kickoff return to put the Falcons ahead 25-7 going into the second half.
“We had a good offensive plan [and] we had a good defensive plan. We held them in check a few times,” Green said. “But they just had big plays.”
Part of the Mustangs’ game plan was to keep the ball out of the hands of the Falcons’ potent offense, which had scored 151 points in three games prior to playing George Mason. The strategy worked during the first half, with the Mustangs running 40 offensive plays while the Falcons ran 18 plays.
In the second half, senior wide receiver Justin Bauserman handed the ball off to junior wide receiver Tommy Caison on a punt return. Then Caison sprinted down the field 48 yards for a touchdown.
“We had our chances. It was just that we made mistakes on special teams, they return [a kickoff and a punt] for touchdowns,” Green said. “They returned a fumble on a kickoff for a touchdown. That hurts you.”
Mustang sophomore running back D’Montae Noble ran for 232 yards against the Falcons on 25 carries, including a 38-yard run to setup Rhodes’ first quarter score.
Molina ran for 118 yards on nine carries for the Falcons and scored three touchdowns. Hayden Bauserman completed 6 of 9 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns against the Mustangs. The Falcons had 346 yards of total offense against the Mustangs and are 3-1 on the season.
“Our kids did everything they could. I think we just got out-manned at some points,” Green said. “And that’s the way football is sometimes. You give your best effort [and] it doesn’t go your way.”
Green said that after the game, the Mustangs were disappointed in themselves but not “resigned” to the result of the game.
“The team mood after that game was a mood of ‘we’re better than how we played,’ which as a coach you want to see,” Green said.
He said that the Mustangs have been focusing this week on executing on all sides of the ball and polishing their game plan against the Mountaineers. The Mustangs play the Mountaineers, another 2-2 team, on Friday at home.