Mason Win Streak Ends at Four Following 21-6 Loss at Manassas Park
By Josh Singer (November 7, 2001)
In a night when few things would go right, the Mustangs were handed their first district loss of the season last Friday by a score of 21-6 courtesy of the Manassas Park Cougars. The Mustangs, now 6-3 (3-1 in the district), need one of two things to happen in order to make it into the playoffs; they either have to defeat the 9-0 Strasburg Rams this weekend, or have the Cougars, 5-4 (1-3 in the district) lose to Brentsville Friday night.
Manassas Park controlled the first quarter of play Friday night, running 16 plays compared to Masonís 8. Manassas Parkís second drive was sparked by a 37-yard reception bringing them inside the 20-yard line. Three plays later they scored on a run from 4 yards out. The Cougars then converted the extra point giving them the early lead.
Mason seemed to respond quickly to the score as junior running back Dominic Clark blasted up the middle for 42 yards. Yet two plays later from Manassasís 27-yard line quarterback Matt Bond was intercepted, returning control of the ball back to the Cougars.
Masonís defense took over in the second quarter, limiting the Cougars to just 19 yards. But the Mustangs, who were able to move the ball consistently, were unable to put up a drive of their own. The Mustangs entered half time trailing the Cougars by a score of 7-0.
Returning from half time, Mason began with the ball on its own 30-yard line. Once again, the Mustangs produced some quality runs by Clark, Eric Powell, and Matt Williams, yet were forced to punt. Punting from his own 46 yard line, Bond received the snap, only to have his punt attempt blocked by a horde of Manassas Park defenders and returned 30 yards for the second score of the night.
Masonís offense metamorphosed on the next drive, resorting more to the pass and finding success. Bond connected with Williams twice on the drive for a combined 32-yards. But on fourth and goal from the 10, the Mustangs were unable to punch it in for the score.
Resting on the laurels of their powerful defense, Mason forced the Cougars to three and out, giving their offense perfect field position to finally score, and score they did from 11 yards out on a run by Williams. Now trailing the Cougars 14-6 with 10:33 left in the game a sense of urgency came over the Mustangs, who were trailing a team for the first time since their game against Stonewall Mt. Jackson. Yet the Cougars did something the Mustangs were unable to do all night long, score quickly. On their fourth play of the drive the Cougars completed a 56-yard catch and run with 8:53 left in the game. Completing the extra point, Manassas was ahead of the worried Mustangs 21-6.
Mason resorted to its usually productive passing game, only to find little success. The Cougars regained possession of the ball on the Mustang 21-yard line and looked to score, but after having a touchdown called back due to illegal motion, were intercepted by Williams in the end zone with 4:33 left in the game. Mason again resorted to the pass, only this time having one interception for a touchdown called back on a flag, and another interception with 2:19 to put the possibility of a comeback out of the picture.
Despite the loss, Mason still is in the playoff picture, and with a win this weekend would not only capture the district title, but host a first round playoff game, something that hasnít been done since the fabled 1998 season. The Mustangs are home this weekend against the Strasburg Rams, game starts at 2 p.m..