Bulkier Mustang Frontline Clears Way for 1st Win

By Natalie Heavren

SENIOR MICHAEL TURNER opted to play along the offensive line instead of his natural position in the backfield, allowing Mason to run all over Madison County. (Photo: Carol Sly)

For the first time in nearly a year and after ten straight losses, George Mason High School’s football team has snapped their losing streak. The Mustangs made a statement in their 48-6 win over Madison County High School last Friday to improve their season record to 1-2.

“I think the team felt the sense of urgency of needing to finally get into the win column,” said head coach Adam Amerine. “We had a couple players volunteer to play new spots if we felt it would help the team’s performance.”

This includes senior Michael Turner volunteering to move from running back to a less flashy role on the offensive line. While it may seem like a small personnel shift, Amerine believes that it significantly impacted the team’s performance Friday night.

Overall Amerine noted significant improvements in the offensive line, citing Turner in his new role and junior transfer Ethan Titus who were able to handle blocking against “bigger bodies better this week.”

“With Turner and Titus getting involved in blocking downfield it allowed our backs to see the holes and get positive yards,” he added.

The improved blocking allowed Mason to accumulate 451 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns, with three touchdowns of 60 or more yards.

Senior running back Connor Plaks led the team with 210 yards and three touchdowns on just nine rushing attempts. Plaks had scoring runs of five, 60 and 89 yards.

Junior linebacker/running back Walter Roou not only led the team on defense with 18 tackles (five for a loss) and a fumble recovery, he also had a 20-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore linebacker Joshua Stillwagoner and sophomore running back/defensive back George Papadopoulos also had double-digit tackles with 15 and 11 respectively.

Turner was also able to contribute on defense and special teams with four tackles, an interception and a thirty-yard kick return.

Madison’s lone touchdown came with five minutes left in the second quarter making it 14-6. Mason would go on to score two more touchdowns, a 60-yard run from Plaks and a 26-yard run from Papadopoulos before halftime, and three more in the second half.

Amerine hopes the main lesson the Mustangs take away from this win is that enjoyable Fridays come from a sharp week of practice leading up to it.

The team was excited after the win and the coaching staff was happy to see the team celebrate, handle the victory with class and knowledge that they still had areas they could improve on.

Amerine was hesitant to declare the win a turning point, but did acknowledge that, “With a young team you have to learn to win and once again maybe some of these underclassmen see that it takes a lot of effort to earn a victory.”

Amerine’s goals for the next game are simple, “Take them one at a time and prepare for a tough Manassas Park team.”

The Mustangs will face the Cougars at 7 p.m. in Manassas Park tomorrow night.