The Puncher Dome has seen some big games through the the years, but nothing like what is about to take place Friday night, as Goldthwaite, the 2009 defending State Champions, come calling.
The sports writers, ranking services and TV affiliates are calling this the "Dream Game." High school football fans all over the state will be using this game to gauge who will be the odds on favorite to make a deep run in the Class 1A playoffs and ultimately become the State Champion. The game is such a big deal that the CBS and NBC affiliates in San Angelo are sending TV crews down to cover the game. It will also be the featured broadcast on several Internet sites and radio stations. We are expecting such a large crowd that the DPS is sending in extra State Troopers for traffic and crowd control due to the fact that so many people will be coming to Mason from surrounding towns just to be a part of this epic battle. Is it the mother of all games? YES! Is it a mandatory, absolutely, positively have to be there game? YES!
The Eagles of Goldthwaite need no introduction. They return 19 of 22 starters, have four All-State players on their team, run the Wishbone to perfection and are a unanimous pick to repeat as State Champions. Their offense distributes the ball evenly between three players who accounted for 54 touchdowns and 5367 all purpose yards last year. Their quarterback, Tyler Horton, who was a sophomore last year, rushed for 684 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also passed for 1208 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Complimenting their talented QB are their two running backs, who the press have nicknamed " Thunder and Lightning." Last year Jonathon "Lightning" Williams rushed for 1945 yards and17 touchdowns. His side kick, James "Thunder" Harden rushed for 1587 yards and 18 touchdowns.Those are serious numbers and serious nicknames.
The real danger in playing Goldthwaite is their ability to pass the football. Goldthwaite is notorious for putting you to sleep with the Wishbone and then springing their tight end or releasing one of their running backs for a game changing pass play. I see this as the key to Friday night's game. Our Puncher defense, which is one of the best in the state, have an edgy quality about them that should translate in to a devastating force against Golthwaite’s ground game. However we must, and I repeat, must stop Goldthwaite’s passing attack.
Our Punchers, who secured a spot in the Playoffs last week by knocking off Reagan County (see box score), are enjoying their elite status as one of the best programs in the State for the third consecutive year. A win Friday night would secure Mason’s position as one of the top four teams in the State and would make our Punchers the odds on favorite to win the District Championship for the third year in a row. A loss would set up next week's game against Winters which would determine the second and third place finishes in the District.
There is a great scene in the movie, "Friday Night Lights," which best sums up the magnitude of this week's game. Coach Gary Gaines of Odessa Permian is addressing his team in the lockerroom before the Midland Lee game. As he conveys the importance of the game to his players, he stops in mid sentence, looks them straight in the eye and says with a glare, "Boys, make no mistake about it, we are in the business of representing this community and tonight we need to be perfect. Can you be perfect?"............ We will all find out Friday night!
GO PUNCHERS !!!!!!!