George Mason High School Football fell 34-21 to Brentsville District High School last Friday in part one of two, as the teams will have a rematch in the first round of the playoffs tomorrow.
Mason fell victim to the Tigers’ big plays several times throughout the night, and once the offense went cold and injuries started piling up in the second half, the Mustangs struggled to keep pace. Twenty-one unanswered points from Brentsville put the game officially out of reach.
“[We lost sophomore two-way player] George [Papadopolous] and we lost [junior two-way player] Nate Jaramillo, so we lost two defensive starters for basically the entire second half,” said head coach Adam Amerine. “George [is] the general in the secondary and he makes our adjustments. So you can see we struggled a little bit with him off the field,” he continued.
The Tigers showed their big play ability with a long touchdown pass just 28 seconds into the game. However, the Mustangs good health to start the game allowed them to stay competitive.
It would take some time, but the Mustangs were able to gain momentum towards the end of the first quarter. On a fourth and five with less than two minutes to go Papadopoulos took a direct snap on the punt and was able to pick up the first down.
Mason capitalized on Brentsville’s penalties when Jaramillo ran the ball in for the Mustangs first touchdown of the night with 11 seconds left in the first quarter. Senior running back Connor Plaks ran the ball in for the two-point conversion to put the team ahead 8-7.
On the next drive Mason stopped the Tigers on their first two plays. But on the third play of the drive the defense was torched on a long pass and catch that resulted in a big play touchdown for Brentsville. After a failed two-point conversion, the Tigers took a 13-8 lead with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.
The Mustangs would respond with a touchdown of their own two and a half minutes later. After a long pass from sophomore quarterback Evans Rice to senior wide receiver Enzo Paradiso put the team within the red zone Mason called a timeout. Coming out of the timeout Plaks ran the ball into the endzone for the team’s second touchdown. A failed two-point conversion gave the Mustangs a 14-13 lead.
Brentsville poured it on with three straight touchdowns before the halfway point in the fourth quarter, effectively ending the game. Despite the cold weather and the improbability of winning towards the end of the game the Mustangs never gave up. Mason would score their final touchdown on a pass from Rice to Paradiso with four minutes left to play.
Even with the loss the team made the playoffs, something Amerine stressed to his players after the game.
“I said ‘You guys are a playoff team. You earned it. No one can take that from you, but now it’s the postseason and anything can happen. And we have the capability to win football games in the postseason, we just have to put it together for 48 minutes,’” he said.
Mason heads to Nokesville to try and shut down Brentsville’s big play machine in the opening round of the playoffs tonight at 7 p.m.