The Mason faithful arrived at the Puncher Dome with a heavy heart last Friday after hearing the sad news about Jacob Bibb. The game which was dedicated to Jacob turned into one of the most unbelievable come from behind victories in recent MHS history, as our Punchers shocked the Bobcats of Comfort 34-33. The standing room only crowd and players who were all well aware of the significance of this contest rose to their feet in the closing seconds of the game and displayed Jacob’s number on their fingers and then rushed the field in celebration. It was moment that the Mason faithful, the players, and the Bibb Family will carry with them for years to come.
Our MHS football program which has been on a roll for the past couple of years is riding a wave of success that Mason has not seen in some time. The 2010 Punchers have now knocked off three ranked Class 2A teams and could very well be number #2 in the State when the state wide Padilla Poll is released this week. The three game winning streak and jump in the polls has caught everybody’s imagination and triggered Puncher hysteria. What makes this story even more remarkable is how they are doing it.
Several years ago I read a book called, "A Season on the Brink." It was about the University of Indiana basketball team and the obstacles they overcame to become National Champions. After Friday night's miracle win over Comfort, I could not help but draw a parallel between that book and Our Punchers.
Mason, who was a preseason favorite, was riding high prior to the first game of the season. Shortly after that, things started to unravel. Junior Alvarez, the starting middle linebacker, broke his arm. One game later starting defensive end, Ben Bjork, was lost due to a shoulder injury and then 24 hours before the Comfort game everybody received the tragic news that starting full back, Jacob Bibb, was stricken with leukemia. The team has dedicated the season to Jacob and they will be wearing the #44 on their helmets for the remainder of the season. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bibb family and I know Jacob was smiling Friday night as he began his first round of treatments and started his journey back to the the gridiron.
So, just how are the Punchers winning after being decimated with injuries:
1) A bruising ground and pound attack that features the phenomenal David Mora and a young offensive line that grew up real quick;
2) A menacing defense that is becoming out right vicious and seems to crave third and short;
3) Rookies, players who were slotted as backups who now find themselves as starters. A couple of examples of this are guys like Clay Walker, Nicholas Navarette, and Andy Duarte, who all came up huge against Comfort;
4) Well coached, nobody is more prepared than the Punchers come game day;
5) A consistent kicking game. Rio Schmidt has been money.
6) Band of brothers mentality. This team truly understands that you must be accountable to each other in order to be successful and there is no room for egos.
If you dig deeper it becomes pretty apparent that the parents who raised these players did a pretty good job. This is a "yes sir, no sir" bunch of guys who are mentally tough, have an excellent work ethic, and understand the importance of representing our community with class. Coach Joy will be quick to tell you he has never had a bunch of players who love to practice as much as this group
Our Punchers will enjoy a week off as they reach the open date on their schedule. The next game will be played at the Puncher Dome on Friday, September 24 against yet another Class 2A team, Ingram.
GO PUNCHERS !!!!!