Fall Sports Preview 2019: Football
Indranshu Das | Sports Writer
The Mason Comet Football team will look to tackle the little things before they kickoff the new year.
With a strong returning core coming back after a successful 2018 campaign which concluded in a first round playoff loss, the program has their sights set on a deep run into the playoffs and an improvement on their 8-3 record.
Senior wide receiver Alec Dardis said it’s important for the team to learn from their playoff loss last year and not repeat the same mistake again.
“We’re using that game as the level of which we need to perform every week regardless of the team,” Dardis said, “One thing we didn’t do last year was come out stronger after halftime and play harder, which is what we are looking to improve upon starting Friday.”
Coach Brian Castner knows that in order for the Comets to make a longer run into the playoffs this year, they’ll have to challenge, and hopefully take down longtime Greater Miami Conference superpower Colerain Cardinals.
Castner said that the key to dethroning the Cardinals is to simplify the game and continue to stay humble week in and week out.
“GMC-wise in all my years as a head coach, from top to bottom, is as good as it has ever been,”Castner said. “It all starts with practice, we’ve got to make sure that practice is the most important thing all season and not just overlooked by the repetition of drills, but also to make sure that the tempo is played at a high level.”
Castner said he’s told team to stay focused and not succumb to the outside noise and expectation that’s been set from last year. Castner said the best approach is to take it one game at a time and not get carried away by the occasion.
“To me, there is none. There is no outside noise. I tell my guys to take care of themselves, their unit, and their team,” Castner said.“Nothing matters beyond the campus walls. As far as promoting our social media page goes, it is great for the fans and families to stay connected, but we’re not going to get distracted by that.”
Although there is a strong leadership group from upperclassmen in the program this season, it’s never the wrong time to prepare for the future.
Junior lineman Paul Rodriguez believes it’s important to continue mentoring the underclassmen and prepare them for the varsity level when the time comes.
“I want to show the ropes to the kids that really don’t have any varsity experience that are newer to it,” Haglage said.”Hopefully with my help they won’t show up game one nervous, rather they would be used to how fast paced it is.”
With standout players filling the roster this year, Senior Linebacker Jack Haglage, who led the team in tackles in 2018, knows that team chemistry is crucial if they want to succeed this year.
“Coach Castner has this philosophy of implementing the culture of this program day in and day out and he continues to emphasize to do team bonding activities like go to Top Golf for example,” Haglage said. “Our senior saying goes off of that and as a result we can be a strong unit and not just a group of individuals.”
Castner is excited for what this season will bring for the team, and knows how crucial it is for his team to focus on the smaller aspects of the game instead of getting caught up in the hype.
“Well, we got to do a better job of holding everyone accountable to those little things, and to make sure that we’re not just saying it but also doing it,” Castner said. “Last year it caught up to us a little bit and we didn’t finish. As long as we can continue to do the little things at a high level consistently, I can’t wait to see how far we go this year.”
Photo by Mia Sweitzer.