Comets take down Elder in Playoffs
Joey Deaton | Staff Writer
The Mason Comets Football team’s season may have ended in a 20-7 loss to Sycamore on November 11, but Team 55 made history.
Mason Football was able to take that next step by defeating the Elder Panthers 21-20 in a nail-biting first round playoff game on November 4. The win was the Comets’ first playoff win since 1996, and the first Division I playoff win overall.
Prior to the 2016 campaign, Mason had two other Division I playoff berths in 2011 and 2015.
In 2011, Mason was able to make the playoffs for the first time under head coach Brian Castner and the first time as a Division I program. The Comets traveled to St. Xavier, and lost to the Bombers 17-6.
In 2015, Mason clinched its first home playoff game under Castner. Unfortunately for the Comets, Springboro was able to come into Dwire Field and knock them off 42-21.
Castner said that the teams have always expected to get through that first round game and to get it done. This year was historic for the program. However, the team needs to be able to recover from this season and look forward to next year.
“We’ve been in the playoffs now three times in the last (six) years,” Castner said. “That’s been great, and we’ve always felt like we could win that first game. I think we made history, that’s great, now we need to learn how to turn the page.”
Senior James Grace was one of the many seniors from Team 55 that were able to break through and win their first playoff game in their high school careers in their final season as part of the Long Green Line.
Grace said that although the win vs. Elder was special, it was truly a team accomplishment and did not result from simply the senior class.
“It’s something special, but it’s not just us group of seniors,” Grace said. “It’s all of us together with the juniors and the sophomores. Everyone had a role in us being that first team to win a division one playoff game.”
After being being considered an underdog back in 2011, the Comets have now not only made the playoffs in back-to-back years, but they have hosted a first round game in both of those instances and finally captured that elusive playoff win in 2016.
Castner said that this level of success is what is hoped for at the beginning of every season, and that the team needs to ensure that expectations remain to return to the playoffs in future seasons.
“We need to teach these juniors and sophomores and even incoming freshmen that this is what’s expected every year,” Castner said. “(We made it to) a tight game in the sweet sixteen round and we need to make sure this is expected every year.”