By Natalie Heavren
George Mason High School football dropped to 0-2 this season after a 35-20 loss to Strasburg High School last Friday, Sept. 6.
Despite falling behind early, the Mustangs never stopped fighting and outscored the Rams 13-0 in the fourth quarter.
Strasburg scored the first three touchdowns of the game, capitalizing on Mason’s errors.
The first touchdown came quickly on the Rams’ first possession early in the first quarter on a 15-yard run from senior running back Jalen Bray.
Strasburg’s second touchdown came on their third possession by way of a seven-yard run by senior running back Da’Neil Holliday after Mason turned it over on downs its previous possession.
The Rams picked off sophomore quarterback Evan Rice’s pass and returned it for a touchdown to go up 21-0 with seven minutes left in the second quarter.
Mason would score on the next possession on a two-yard run by sophomore running back/defensive back George Papadopoulos cutting the lead to 14.
Though Strasburg would force a Mason fumble and score two more touchdowns in the third quarter to make it 35-7, the Mustangs played hard until the end of the game.
In the fourth quarter, Mason scored two touchdowns on the ground, making the final score 35-20 after one of junior kicker Ian McCraken’s extra point attempts was blocked.
The first was a four-yard run by junior running back Robert Silva and the second was an 18-yard run from senior running back Connor Plaks.
The defense also stepped up, recovering two fumbles in the fourth quarter while holding the Rams scoreless over those 12 minutes.
Mason head coach Adam Amerine was proud of his team’s effort Friday night.
“We competed hard for 48 minutes and that’s always our goal every night,” he said. “And unlike last week, where it was a tight game until the end, this one kind of got away from us there in the third quarter. So our goal was to win the fourth quarter and play a full 48-minute game. But obviously, the mistakes we made early are what really killed us.”
Amerine praised his team for not giving up, listening to the team’s goals and for coming together to have so much success in the fourth quarter.
When asked about what improvements he saw from week one to week two Amerine focused on defense.
“Defensively, I thought we were pretty strong again tonight … the defense responded for the second week in a row. We had some new guys in some new places, due to injury for a couple guys, so it was nice to see them respond.”
Several Mustangs’ performances stood out statistically.
Papadopoulos succeeded in all three areas of the games. He had 50 yards on seven carries, returned three kicks for an average of 16.7 yards and had 12 tackles, tied for most on the team.
Senior outside linebacker Michael Turner also had 12 tackles as well as a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
Plaks rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts and also contributed two tackles.
Junior linebacker Walter Roou had 11 tackles and rushed for 17 yards on two attempts after coming in and taking snaps at quarterback.
Mason will play its first road game of the season when they take on Madison Country High School on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.