With Friday nights victory over the Junction Eagles, Mason took the undisputed title of District Champion for 2009, and will head into the playoffs in two weeks after an open week to allow for a bit of rest and recuperation.
The Eagles came to Mason with an undefeated district record, and their playing showed why they had done so well this season. They showed endurance and stamina that was matched only by their enthusiasm and sportsmanship, and the Punchers knew they had a worthy opponent on the field.
In the first quarter, the Eagles would battle against the formidable Puncher defense, and it would be they who first got on the scoreboard late in the first quarter. After a long drive down the field, Ty Stapp made the final 4-yard run for the score, followed by Luis Roman's kick and the score was 0-7 with 3:28 left in the first quarter.
The Punchers took the score in stride, and when they got the ball, started their own long drive back down the field. It would finally be the small in stature David Mora who first put Mason on the scoreboard with a six-yard run, followed by Joaquin Mejia's kick, and the score was tied 7-7 with 1:24 left in the quarter.
The second quarter turned out to be a nail biter. For almost the entire twelve minutes of play, both teams would make pushes down field, and then the ball would go over and the process would start yet again. Finally, with only 32 seconds of play left in the first half, Justin Yonker shot off a 41-yard pass to Garrett Rice for Mason's second touchdown of the night. Mejia's kick was good, and the halftime score would be 14-7 in favor of the Punchers.
Returning from the half, the Punchers definitely had the mental advantage, and they had the momentum. Half way through the quarter, David Mora scored for the second time in the night on a 4-yard run. Mejia's kick added the extra point, and the score was 21-7 with 5:58 remaining in the quarter.
After a quick possession by the Eagles, the ball returned to Mason, and this time it would be Zach Hudson taking in the ball on a 1-yard dive, followed by Mejia's kick, to put the score at 28-7 with 3:20 left in the quarter.
At this point, many lesser teams would have surrendered and decided to call it a night; but, the Junction Eagles were ready to prove that their reputation for the season thus far was deserved, and in the fourth quarter, they and the Punchers brought some great football action to the Puncherdome.
Early in the fourth quarter, Justin Yonker tossed off a 17-yard pass to Chance Stockbridge for a Puncher score, followed by the inevitable Mejia extra point, and the score was 35-7 with 10:39 left in the game.
Junction responded quickly. Jason McKinnerney shot off a 39-yard pass to Tyler Wilson for an Eagle score, followed by a Luis Roman kick, and the score was 35-14.
The Punchers took possession, and Justin Yonker's arm, now fully warmed up, let loose with a 35-yard pass to Garrett Rice to give Mason another six points. For the first time all night, Mejia's kick did not succeed, and the score was 41-14 with 8:41 left in the game.
Junction responded in kind, as McKinnerney rocketed an amazing 64-yard pass to Alec Menchaca to add another six points to their score. Victor Parga's kick was good, and the total was 41-21 with 7:49 left in the game.
Mason's possession could not penetrate Junction's defense, and the ball went back to the Eagles with less than four and a half minutes of play left. The Eagles used the time well.
They drove into Puncher territory, and Ty Stapp made the final 7-yard run to give the Eagles their final touchdown of the night, followed by Luis Roman's kick, to leave the score at 41-28.
The Punchers took possession and drove all the way down to the goal line; but, finally allowed the clock to run out without crossing over.
This week, the Punchers are open while the rest of the district finishes up play. By next week, we will have playoff information for the Puncher fans.