by Matthew Hochberg
George Mason’s High School varsity football team battled Sidwell Friends on Friday night, before the Mustangs took charge in the second half. Down 29-20 going into the third quarter, Mason took their energy to another level and scored 29 unanswered points, shutting out their opponent en route to a 49-29 victory.
“We made a few defensive adjustments at halftime,” head coach Tony Green said. “Our whole team stepped up to get the win.”
This win, which put Mason at 2-0 on the season, is certainly notable. Last season, Sidwell Friends defeated the Mustangs 40-22 before winning a State Athletic Association Class A title. The D.C.-based team returned five offensive starters from last year’s roster.
Yet, with six seniors for the Mustangs, there was no shortage of experience for the home team either. Led by running back Dustin Green, a member of last season’s All-District offensive second team and offensive lineman Patrick Lin, another All-District returner under coach Green, the team’s seniors are rounded out by center Mackenzie Steeves, offensive linemen/defensive linemen Eduardo Pacheco and Alexander Ross, and offensive lineman/linebacker Daniel Reinfurt.
Despite trailing heading into the final two quarters of play, Green thought his players kept calm and did not show any nerves.
“They didn’t panic,” he said. “This is a carry over from last year. Our players listened to their coaches.”
While the high-scoring 49 points is notable, what may have been the keys of the game were the three rare onside kick recoveries. On three different kickoffs, Mason’s squib kicks not only ensured Sidwell Friends’ top returners wouldn’t be able to get their hands on the ball, but even got the home team immediately back on offense.
Moving forward, if the Mustangs can continue to score the football and remain calm when their opponents are gaining momentum, this season may turn out to be another quality one. Some more successful squib kicks wouldn’t hurt, either.
The Mustangs won its season opener in a 34-0 blowout of Rappahannock County High School at Rappahannock County. They travel to Luray High School on Friday, Sept. 16 for a matchup against the Bulldogs.