In the first test of the #11 ranked Mason Punchers, they proved their reputation, while also getting some kinks out of their system prior to beginning regular season play.
The two teams met up at the Angelo State University stadium, and fans made the trek from both towns to cheer on their teams. There was a 30 minute delay to the start of game due to lightening; but, once play began, the teams did not disappoint their fans.
The entire first quarter of play, and almost the entire second quarter, would pass without either team scoring. There was the inevitable first game rash of penalties, and some of them were real groaners. Mason had a problem with listening to the snap count. Iraan players also seemed to forget their count. But, those things finally started to work themselves out as the end of the first half neared.
With only 2:42 remaining in the half, Zach Hudson made a final dash across the goal to put Mason on the scoreboard, though the extra point attempt failed.
Iraan took control of the ball, and with only 45 seconds remaining in the half, Jose Chavez carried in the ball to put the score at 6-6. Terry Galindo's kick was good, and the half time score was 7-6 in favor of the Braves.
When the Punchers returned to the field in the third quarter, it was obvious that they had found a way to refocus themselves and to return to the football they are capable of playing.
Only a minute and a half into the third quarter, Jayton Henrich capitalized on an Iraan fumble on their own goal line to score and put Mason at 12-7. Jeremy Hamilton's kick was good, and the score was 13-7 with 10:38 remaining in the quarter.
Later in the quarter, the amazingly fast David Mora brought the crowd to their feet with a 46 yard scoring run. Jeremy Hamilton's kick again found its center and the score was 20-7 with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter.
The Braves did not give up, and they continued battling the Punchers through the third quarter, but would not get on the board again until late in the fourth quarter.
With three minutes remaining in the game, Iraan's Drew Fellows shot off a 57-yard pass to Dakota Green for the final score of the night.
The final score at the whistle was 20-13, and both teams went home knowing they had grown considerably during the course of the evening.
Mason will meet up with the San Saba Armadillos on Friday at 7:30 in San Saba. The JV will play in Mason on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.