by Daniel Donovan
George Mason High School’s varsity football team fell to Warren County High School’s Wildcats in a crushing last second 20-14 defeat last Friday, dropping the Mustangs’ record to 1-6 on the year.
With one second left in the game and the score tied 14-14, the Wildcats’ junior quarterback Robert Rutherford found senior wide receiver C.J. Sharp for a 28-yard touchdown pass to win the game as time expired.
However, the game began on a much less exciting note. Neither team was even able to reach the red-zone the entire first quarter and the game remained scoreless heading into the second.
The second quarter featured much of the same – both defenses held their own for the better part of the quarter. But the deadlock was broken when Mason’s junior running back D’Montae Noble broke free for an explosive 45-yard touchdown to put the Mustangs ahead 7-0.
The Wildcats quickly responded with a touchdown of their own on the next drive when Rutherford threw found senior wide receiver Blake Cockrell at the back of the end zone to tie the game at 7-7 heading into halftime.
The Mustangs felt confident during the half. They had only been tied or leading at halftime twice before all season.
“We were a little disappointed that we let them score in the last minute of the first half, but we still felt very confident going into the second half,” said Mason senior lineman Nick Casillas.
The Mustang defense continued to hold their ground and held the Wildcats scoreless throughout the entire third quarter.
But Mason’s offense wasn’t able to take advantage on the other side of the ball and the score remained tied at the end of the third quarter.
Eventually the Mason defense cracked, midway through the fourth quarter. Warren County drove 82 yards down the field and capped off their drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown from senior running back Will Spencer.
Mason’s offense responded to Warren County’s score when Noble ran for his second touchdown of the night to tie the score 14-14 with under two minutes to play.
But the Wildcats drove down the field to the Mason 32-yard line and stopped the clock with one second left in the game allowing for one more play.
The Wildcats lined up in a four wide receiver set, the ball was snapped and Rutherford was quickly forced out of the pocket by the Mason pass rush.
Scrambling to his left he saw Sharp wide open near the sideline due to a blown coverage by the Mason secondary. Sharp caught the pass and ran it in the last 5 yards to win the game for the Wildcats as the game clock hit 0:00.
“We were in the bottom of the ninth and we struck out, couldn’t make a play” Noble said after the game. “We have to finish out games.”
The loss all but eliminated the Mustangs from playoff contention, but the Mustangs still have meaningful games left to play.
Mason plays their senior night game against Mannassas Park High School on Nov. 7 and a matchup with district rivals Clarke County High School on Oct. 31.
The Mustangs will travel to William Monroe High School tomorrow night for their last road game of the season.