‘Stangs Score Homecoming Win

Mason Football Beats Madison County, 33-20

A big Mason home crowd came out to see the Mustangs take on rival Madison County, many wearing the “Beat Madison” shirts that seniors were selling in advance of the game. (FCCPS Photo)
A big Mason home crowd came out to see the Mustangs take on rival Madison County, many wearing the “Beat Madison” shirts that seniors were selling in advance of the game. (FCCPS Photo)

By Drew Costley

George Mason High School’s varsity football team amassed over 300 yards on offense and caused three interceptions on defense on its way to a 33-20 victory over Madison County High School last Friday. Tony Green, head coach of the Mustangs, said the homecoming game victory over the Mountaineers was a “huge win.”

“Our kids worked very hard all week to get ready for that game,” Green said. “And there was a lot of excitement in our building. Our student body was excited. Everyone in that school was excited.”

The Mustangs turned all of that excitement into early points against the Mountaineers with two touchdowns in the first quarter. The Mountaineers scored one touchdown in the first quarter, which ended with the Mustangs ahead 14-7. Each team added a touchdown in the second quarter for a score of 20-14.

The Mustangs and Mountaineers both came back from the half and scored a touchdown each in the third quarter to bring the score to 27-20. But the Mustangs were the only team to strike blood in the fourth quarter, which they did to make the final score 33-20.

The Mountaineers’ starting quarterback, junior James Graves, was injured. Senior Collin Shifflett played in place of Graves and completed eight of 14 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns against the Mustangs. But the Mustangs secondary also picked off Shifflett three times.

“[Shifflett] was a backup and he came in and hit some long passes for them,” Green said. “And our defense rotated right a few times on him and we picked him off.”

Junior defensive back Sam Selby caught two of the interceptions Shifflett threw and sophomore running back/defensive back D’Montae Noble caught the other.

On offense, Noble ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Senior running back Connor Rhodes added 83 yards and a touchdown to the Mustangs’ rushing attack. Freshman running back Lee Hagler also scored a rushing touchdown in the first quarter. Senior quarterback Grant Hagler completed seven of 11 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown, all of which were received by junior wide receiver Alfonso Banks.

“We were able to run the ball well and [Madison County] had a little trouble with our short passing game, and we were able to have success there,” Green said.

The Mustangs are midway through their regular season schedule after their win over Madison County and have as many wins as they’ve had the past three seasons. Green said improving the football program is a difficult task, but that the players are starting to buy into short and long term goals he has for the program.

“We talked about it all [last] week leading up to that game how important it [was] to win a [conference] game,” Green said. “Our goal is to make the playoffs. And to make the playoffs you’ve got to win [conference] games and you have to be prepared every week to win those games.”

The Mustangs are now in a new conference for postseason play. Instead of the Bull Run District, George Mason is now organized into conference 35 of the 2A West division, according to a Virginia High School League realignment plan that goes into effect for the 2013-14 school year postseason.

The Mustangs are now focused on Strasburg High School, a Bull Run District opponent in past years who are in the same conference as George Mason despite the realignment. Green said the Rams are a “perennial power” in the district, but are going into this match-up with Mason with a 2-3 overall record.

“It’s going to take us to play an outstanding game on their home field to walk away with a victory,” Green said. He said it was important for the Mustangs, who are 0-2 in away games, to notch a victory on the road.

“This year we need to get a road win,” Green said. “I think it’s going to help us go on the road and win and solidify ourselves as a playoff contender and a team that everybody has to take seriously.”