Comets come out on top 30-27 in battle of the skies

Matthew Smith | Staff Writer

The battle of the skies was packed at Dwire Field as Mason survived a 30-27 overtime win against the Sycamore Aviators.

The Comets offense came out strong, as Collin Brown ran in a touchdown to Mason ahead 7-0 early in the first quarter. However, the Aviators responded with a touchdown of their own to cut the lead to 7-6. A blocked extra point allowed the Comets to still hold onto the lead, and soon after, Collin Brown connected with Nick Niehoff for a touchdown. Up 13-6 after the first quarter, it was the start Coach Brian Castner was hoping for.

“It was much improved,” Castner said. “We had a lot of tempo, and that was huge. We fixed something that needed to be fixed.”

In the second quarter, the Comet offense didn’t let up either, as a 35 yard touchdown by running back Logan Dalton gave Mason a 20-6 lead. As halftime approached the defense continued to play well, and senior defensive lineman Chase Evans said that it was just everyone doing their assignment.

“We came out and played really hard and everyone did their job,” Evans said. “Everyone really wanted to win. We haven’t had the best record against [Sycamore], so we all came out with an attitude to win.”

In the second half, however, the narrative changed as Sycamore was now doing the scoring. After a touchdown pass and an interception returned for a touchdown, the Aviators were suddenly tied with the Comets after the third quarter. Brian Castner did not like what he saw to start the half from his team.

“After the half, we came out overconfident,” Castner said. “We got complacent, and they came out like a championship team does and came at us.”

Sycamore continued to score into the fourth quarter as well, and took their first lead of the game after a touchdown pass made the score 27-20. It looked as if Sycamore would finish the Comets, but a 53 yard touchdown run by Logan Dalton knotted the game at 27. Finally back to full health, Dalton’s key plays kept Mason in the game, but he couldn’t take all the credit for his performance.

“Tonight felt great, but I have to give credit up front,” Dalton said. “I can’t do it without the offensive line. I haven’t been at 100% all year yet, so it was great to be able to finish this game.”

With the game tied, Mason got the ball back and had two minutes remaining, but a quick fumble gave Sycamore possession inside of Comet territory. Sycamore had a chance to win the game as time expired, but a short kick by the Aviators was blocked by Chase Evans, and the game headed to overtime and gave the Comets new life. Brian Castner knows the turnover almost cost Mason the game, but also realizes the block gave the team momentum.

“We turned over the ball tonight, we’ll need to work on that,” Castner said. “Turning [the ball] over didn’t help, but blocking that kick was a big turning point for us.”

In overtime, Mason’s offense stalled at the 20 yard line, and forced the Comets to settle for a field goal. Kicker Charlies Sipe barely squeezed in his kick from 42 yards away, but it gave the Comets a 30-27 lead.

Now on offense, Sycamore’s offense marched right down to Mason’s three yard line, before Jake Orlando and Dominick Nigro forced a fourth and goal from the Comet’s eight yard line. The difference between a win and a lose would all came down to one final play, as Sycamore elected to keep its offense on the field and go for a touchdown. Mason’s defense held strong, knocking down a pass from Aviator quarterback Drew Altemuehle, and securing the 30-27 win. Logan Dalton knew how big this win was for Mason.

“It was huge,” Dalton said. “We’ve been talking all week about how we want to show (Sycamore) what domination is. It’s a big win.”

Brian Castner felt the win over Sycamore should give the team momentum leading into next week’s game.

“It’s a huge win. Now we need to enjoy this, but figure out how to respond,” Castner said. “Next week we face (Hamilton) Big Blue, and they will be much better.”

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Photos by Jake Sapp.