by Kate Karstens
Staying one step ahead of the competition proved vital for George Mason High School’s varsity football team, who faced Madison County High School on Friday, Oct.30. The Mustangs finished their final home game of the season, 42-27, keeping their first place rank in the Bull Run District.
On offense, Mason was never less than 14 points ahead of Madison due to the Mustang’s strong running game, specifically that of Dustin Green and D’Montae Noble. The offensive line continued to create open routes for runs throughout the game, allowing the monumental touchdowns of Noble, Green, and Hunter Sulc.
“The offensive line did a great job getting me into open spaces as always,” said Sulc.
The Mustang defense shutout the Mountaineers in the first half but their inability to complete tackles led to Madison’s four touchdowns in the second half. However, consistent and effective pressure on Madison’s quarterback by junior linebacker, Andrew Coulson, held Madison to only 27 points.
Off to a lethargic start, the Madison offense could not complete any substantial plays. Mason capitalized as Noble returned the punt, pushing onwards for a 22-yard gain, despite the weight of Madison defenders pulling him down. After a quick pass completion to Green, Noble ran another 30 yards to put Mason on the board with 7-0 in the first minutes of the game.
Coulson’s continuous pressure on the quarterback, alongside Matthew Mineo’s defense on Madison’s wide receiver kept the Mountaineers scoreless in the first quarter.
A collective 55 yards run by Noble and the occasional first down gained by Sulc and Green resulted in Mason’s second touchdown of the game. Ethan Morse maintained his steady leg and pushed Mason to 14-0.
Following a near-sack by Coulson, Madison’s turnover to Mason at the end of the first quarter put Mason at optimal position to score. At the start of the second quarter, Sulc and Green’s runs, 15 and 10 yards, respectively, completed Mason’s third touchdown.
“We started off early with success running the ball,” said Green. “Madison never really managed to stop [our runs] so we just kept pounding the ball down the field and they couldn’t stop us.”
As Madison’s passing game came to life, Justin Thomas and Mineo kept pressure on the receivers to prevent any crippling runs. Coulson’s near sack forced a turnover to the Mason offense who could not complete the drive.
To finish the second quarter, Dustin Green caught a 35-yard interception to regain Mason possession to start the second half.
In the third quarter, however, when the Mason offensive drive was inconclusive, Madison’s was not. A quick pass through the middle to a receiver who then ran 50 yards to the goal line exemplified Mason’s inability to tackle.
With Madison on the scoreboard, Noble’s resilient side kicked in, as he ran a 25-yard return into Madison territory at the end of the third quarter. Noble’s drive continued another 25 yards to the goal line, pushing Mason to 28-7.
Although Coulson completed a 7-yard sack, the remainder of Mason’s defense was unable to stop Madison’s passing plays. Only getting a hand on the receiver without completing a tackle caused a second touchdown for Madison County.
Dustin Green weaved his way through defenders for a ten yard gain after Finn Roou’s kick return puts Mason at Madison’s 45 yard line. For his third touchdown, Noble stiff-armed his way down the field for a 45 yard touchdown run. Morse’s following extra point put Mason at 35-14 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Madison’s passing game came into play twice in their final offensive drives. First, with a quick pass down the middle run 45 yards to the end-zone, and secondly, a simple toss to a receiver on the outside of the offensive line, pushing Madison to their final 27 points of the game.
However, the Mustang offense managed to squeeze in one more touchdown between Madison’s minor successes. After Green and Noble contributed 25 running yards each, Mason’s offensive line presented Hunter Sulc with a route down the right side of the field and he took it, barreling a Madison safety in his way.
“Once I’m one on one with any defender I’m always confident lowering my shoulder because of my mindset,” said Sulc. “I’m offended that the kid is even trying to tackle me. My mentality is to simply to make anyone who tries to tackle me suffer.”
Mason triumphed over the Mountaineers with a final score of 42-27, further instilling their hold on the Bull Run District, with a record of 6-1. The Mustangs will travel to Central Woodstock High School (4-1) on Friday, Nov. 6, for a 7:30 p.m. game against the Falcons.
“We are preparing for the running [plays] non-stop and being aggressive,” said Noble.