Team 55 Earns Mason Football’s First Division I Playoff Win

My good friend Joey Deaton did an amazing job of covering Team 55’s playoff win over GCL powerhouse Elder. He captured the emotion that I felt on the field that night, he captured the emotion that the alumni felt and the emotion that our senior leaders felt. To be on Dwire Field that night was something special. It was cold out, but we couldn’t feel a thing. We (our offensive line) was tired, we had drives of 10, 11 and 17 plays, but we never showed it. We put our hand in the dirt and lined up and tried to outman the man wearing white across from us. To be a part of Mason football’s first Division 1 playoff win was something incredibly special. I can just remember the joy that rushed over me after Elder’s last circus attempt at a comeback fell short. It was just about the happiest I’ve ever felt in my life. I jumped off the bench I had been yelling from and rushed to midfield to join my teammates. It was non-stop hugs all around. Mason football is a brotherhood and it showed. We kneeled on the ‘M’ and Coach Castner yelled out, “How ’bout them Comets!” as loud as he could and we just about started a riot. It was incredible. We had done it. Waking up at 4 Am for two months straight, waking up at 6:30 every day in the summer, 2-a-days; it all came to fruition, we had done it. We sang the alma mater and fight song with as much pride as we possibly could. Then it was just finding every person I could and giving them a hug. My parents, my friends, my teammates, old coaches, current coaches; it was a season’s worth of work coming to fruition. Joey captured that and more. His story was fantastic, one of the best I have read. It brought me back to that night and the emotions I felt. Thank you Joey, it means so much to me, my teammates and the Long Green Line.img_3506


Enjoy It

I was able to get through my brush with injury nearly unscathed. I almost had one of the things I love most, the game of football taken from me until next year.

A dull pain in my shoulder persisted for three days so I took a visit to the Mason athletic trainer’s office, who then referred me to Dr. Marc Galloway who just happens to be the lead doctor for the Cincinnati Bengals. I sat in his office and he moved my shoulder around and diagnosed it as a partial labral tear. From my understanding a labral tear is something that could at worst take 4-6 months of recovery after surgery. Something I wasn’t prepared to deal with. So to the MRI went. Whoever told you, you can fall asleep in an MRI, gave you bad information. My nerves were racked as the machine whirred and clicked it’s way through my 25 minute scan. And then we waited…

Back into the office we waited for 30 tantalizing minutes as the MRI sat right across from my face. But heck, I’m not a doctor, I have no idea what any of that means. And then the news came…

I breathed my heavy sigh of relief, a strained anterior shoulder capsule. No tendons, no torn ligaments and minimal time off. All I needed was a brace, some physical therapy and some Advil.

But those agonizing 48 hours made me think about my life without football. The practices, I claim to hate, that I actually couldn’t live without. Not being out there eats me alive. Everyone that plays football at one point or another thinks they need a break and feels a pang of jealousy towards the injured guys on the sideline doing sit-ups instead of up-downs or not running that one extra sprint. But let me tell, you don’t want to be there. I’d much rather be in shoulder pads doing up-downs than in my sweatpants doing sit-ups off to the side. And so would everyone else with an injury. Appreciate what you have even if you think you don’t want it. And keep those guys who can’t play, who can’t finish their senior seasons in your thoughts and play for them

This is my second installment of “Why Penn State Can Beat Ohio State” here on The Busted Bracket. As you may remember Penn State wasthisclose to knocking off the Buckeyes last year in double overtime in Happy Valley. It would have helped if maybe these two calls (that directly led to 10 Ohio State points) had been called correctly.

But anyhow, let’s move back to present day. Here are my three key reasons why Penn State can and will beat Ohio State.

  1. Defensive Line- If you want to argue Penn State’s defensive line is not the best in college football, please step right up. One of their best player’s wasn’t even on scholarship until last year. Carl Nassib is a 218 pound former walk-on who hadn’t started a game since before his high school career began. Nassib is now the nations leader in sacks, with 10, the nation’s leader in forced fumbles, with 5, and is third in the country with 12 tackles for loss. Nassib isn’t even the best Nittany Lion’s defensive lineman… D-tackle Anthony Zettel is a projected 1st round draft pick and has 33 career tackles for loss and recorded 3.5 of those TFL’s against San Diego State, just hours after the passing of his father from cancer. Austin Johnson, all 323 pounds of him, rumbled for a 74 yard scoop and score against the Aztecs, flahing quite a bit of athleticism. 
  2. Saquan Barkley- Find a true freshmen more electric than this guy in college football? You didn’t okay I’ll continue. Barkley has 373 yards on just 42 carries. That’s 8.9 yards per carry if your tallying at home. Barkley is the most explosive player I’ve seen at Penn State since the days of Derrick Williams and Evan Royster back in ’08. Check out these highlights and see for yourself. 


  3. Christian Hackenberg- Hack has been scrutinized for all 3 of his years at Penn State. Some rightfully so, but most of the time unwarranted. Last week against IU we saw the Hack that Mel Kiper says could go in the top 10 of next years draft. Hack threw for 262 yards and two, 39 yard TD’s as we finally saw the Nittany Lions open up an aerial passing attack that went more than eight yards downfield. Christian Hackenberg is a special talent, no doubt about. It just takes the right play calling to showcase it.

Final Score Prediction: Penn State 27 #1 Ohio State 24


Take A Break

As the month of October engulfs us, it means we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of the school year. 9 week interim’s, fall testing day, and Christmas seems closer than summer break. But as we all bury our heads in our textbooks to get through our academic grind I have one reminder for you; take a break.

The month of October is one of the greatest sports months of the year. Playoff baseball, the NFL, college football, the NBA returns and high school football is in full swing. That’s why it’s important to give yourself some time each day to take a break and watch some sports. I took 15 minutes today to watch game 5 of the ALDS between the Blue Jays and the Rangers and saw 15 minutes of the most exciting baseball I’ve ever seen.

I saw this

And more importantly this

I will remember exactly were I was when I saw Jose Bautista hit a moon shot back over the Canadian border and toss his bat to Saskatchewan 25 years from now. I’ll also remember it was a Wednesday at 7 o’clock and I had a lot of Spanish homework I should’ve been doing.

I’ll remember seeing Le’Veon Bell squirm across the goal line in San Diego .02 seconds before his knee hit the ground on Monday Night Footballl, not the To Kill A Mockingbird test I studied for.

Academics come first, yes, but there has to be a little self indulgence when it comes to watching October sports. Blink,

 and you just might miss the greatest sports month of the year.

The first green line

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 11.44.51 AMThe first football team at Mason High School had 37 players and two coaches in 1962. Photo contributed by Dennis Bogan. 

The Mason football program, one of the largest in the state, was non-existent just 54 years ago. In the early 1960s, funded by a community that wanted to bring the Friday night lights to their school, the Mason football team was born.

Mason Athletic Hall of Fame Historian Michael O’Bryant said before 1962, it wouldn’t have been possible for Mason to support a football team. As Mason and southwestern Ohio as a whole began to grow, Mason began to think about football.

“We were getting to be a big enough school that we could support a football team,” O’Bryant said. “Back before ‘62 classes were only 30 or 40 people, 15 of which were boys. Mason was really starting to grow and the whole area was.”

O’Bryant said that as surrounding schools started football programs of their own, Mason wanted to hop on board.

“Kings, Waynesville, Blanchester were all starting football programs too,” O’Bryant said. “So now (we) were not only the people, but we (had) some people to play.”

Former Mason football player Dennis Bogan, who played on the first Mason football team, said before football, there wasn’t much to do in Mason on Friday nights.

“The gym was up in town, where the administration building was at,” Bogan said. “Friday night basketball: that was about the only form of entertainment then.”

According to Bogan, the Mason football team began with the Mason Boosters Club, which helped raise the money for the first football team.

“There was a group of guys here in town that started the Mason Boosters Club,” Bogan said. “They started out basically with donations. There were probably 10 to 15 guys that were the nucleus of it.”

Unlike today when all athletic facilities are subsidized by the school, O’Bryant said the beginning of the Mason football program was almost entirely funded by the community at large.

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 11.45.12 AMMason’s 2015 football team has 118 players and 14 coaches. Photo contributed by Dan Hilen.

“Just about every business in town contributed,” O’Bryant said. “The football field was built originally not by the school, but by a lot of the parents in town. There’s a whole list of men on this contract that put up collateral so that the Boosters could borrow the money to build a football field, it was a real community effort.”

According to Bogan, some businesses donated more than just money.

“The first lights out there were installed free of charge,” Bogan said. “At the time, there was only one set of bleachers and that’s where the press box is at now on the home side of the field. That summer, the football players carried a lot of the blocks. Elsie Richardson, he was a local bricklayer…laid all the blocks and I don’t think they charged them for that.”

According to O’Bryant, he doesn’t think the same type of fundraising effort could happen in today’s day in age due to the size of Mason today.

“You look back at the names and you think of the size of the town. It was a pretty big percentage of people: families who were contributing directly to doing this,” O’Bryant said. “You can never say never, but I think it was pretty unique and hasn’t happened since. People expect the school to build things themselves, but this was really a grassroots, community effort.”

Bogan said one of the biggest changes he’s seen in the last 54 years is the facilities.

“One of the things that’s changed a lot is the (facilities),” Bogan said. “The weight room we had was back in the furnace room, it consisted of a bench where you could bench press and some dumbbells, nothing like you have today. The upside of it was the temperature in there was the same whether it was winter or summer, about 95 degrees.”

While the Comets draw thousands more on Friday nights now than they ever did in the ‘60s, O’Bryant said football was just a big a part of the community then as it is now.

“It’s always been pretty popular, right from the very beginning,” O’Bryant said. “It’s always been an important part of Mason schools. I think a lot of that goes with success and the involvement, the fact these people really felt like they were a part of it. They actually worked on it; they contributed money.”

OPINION: College football season yet to begin

While college football has been rolling for three weeks, to me the season doesn’t truly get going until week five: the beginning of conference play.

For the first four weeks of the season, college football schedules are loaded with cupcakes. In week two, for instance, Baylor plays Lamar University, which none of you had ever heard of until now. Colorado State and Akron both will play Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) doormat Savannah State, who went 0-12 in 2014. Savannah State has lost their last seven games vs. Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponents in spectacular fashion, on average, 72-5, including an 81-9 loss to Georgia Southern. The Tigers aren’t alone; FCS teams struggle mightily against the big bad FBS. From 1978-2013, FBS teams are staggering 814-58-3 against FCS opponents, a winning percentage of 93.4. So my point? FBS teams need to take FCS teams off of their schedules.

So without the ability to schedule FCS teams, what happens to the Appalachian States of the world, you say? Teams like the Mountaineers, who pulled off a titanic 34-32 upset of number five Michigan in 2007, would still be eligible to schedule FBS teams if my proposal went through.

At the time of their historic upset of the Wolverines, the Mountaineers were in the midst of a run of three straight FCS championships. So what I’m saying is the Mountaineers were a little bit higher caliber than ‘ol Savannah State. Under my proposal, the 24 teams who make the FCS playoffs the year prior, would still be eligible to have FBS level teams on their schedule.

Keeping the cupcakes of college football like Wagner and the University of Incarnate Word off of the schedules of big-ticket college football teams, will improve attendance, as well as keep the level of play where it should be. It would also allow the big dogs of the FCS to test their mettle and see if they can compete at the next level.

The Chronicle Will Endure

Journalism is dying they say. Social Media has taken over. Anyone can do what you do. You can post your thoughts online with the click of a button, just as I’m doing right now. But can you get the same effect, can you get the same emotion from your readership?

As high school papers are losing funding around the country, it is logical to ask “What about the Chronicle?” We had a discussion in The Chronicle just a couple weeks ago about how ‘MBC’ is an integral part of MHS and how it deserves to be shown in 5th bell. But why? Because it does something the high school rumor mill can’t. It connects you to all 3,500+ of your fellow classmates. Where else can you get that? The Chronicle is no different.

The Chronicle provides you with connections you get no where else. How else would you know about those 3 or 4 kids in your grade of 800 people that’s in the circus How else would you know about the family that builds prosthetic hands How would you find out the guy next to you in chemistry is a DJ in his spare time You would never know. The Chronicle makes a school of 3,500 smaller, more personable. But why else will the Chronicle continue to thrive?

Chronicle distribution day is a hallowed occasion not just in c103, but around the school. You hear the cheers throughout the first bell classes as you deliver their thick stack of Chronicle’s. You see students roaming the halls, normally glued to their phones instead glued to center spread reading about a trending topic that will surely be part of the daily lunch table banter. You have people you didn’t know you knew come up to you and say ‘great story’ or ‘The Chronicle was great today.’ You hear discussions in the halls that would be normally centered around how boring first bell was, instead centered around the snow day controversies

So when the cheers die out, the conversations are nonexistent, and you can find yourself another source to bring you the stories of your 3,500 or so classmates that’s the day journalism will die. But I don’t foresee that day happening any day soon.