When Mason plays Goldthwaite, especially on their home turf, there are no certainties, other than that it will be a rough night of football. Last Friday was no exception as the Punchers traveled up Highway 16 to take on the Eagles in their home stadium.
During the first quarter, it quickly became apparent that Goldthwaite's loss a week earlier was not going to dampen their enthusiasm for a matchup against the Punchers. For almost the entire first quarter, neither team could manage to punch through the defenses of their opponents. Finally, with only half a minute left in the quarter, Goldthwaite drove downfield and Stephens carried the ball in on a short run to put the first points on the scoreboard. The Eagles failed in their extra point, and the score was 6-0.
The second quarter saw the Punchers make repeated attempts to get some points on the board. The Eagle defense, and some interesting officials' calls, blocked the Punchers time and again; but, the Mason team did not back down. Finally, with only 40 seconds left in the first half, Rio Schmidt carried in the ball to put the Punchers in a tie with Goldthwaite. Then, Rio kicked the extra point, leaving the Punchers leading 6-7 going into the half.
When the teams returned after the half, a reenergized Mason team began to show the spirit that makes them such a great team. Four minutes into the third quarter, the Punchers pushed into Eagle territory and Rio Schmidt kicked a 26-yard field goal, in spite of a strong crosswind, to put the score at 6-10.
Two minutes later, Goldthwaite's Harper made a blazing 74-yard run for the Eagles and the score was 12-10. They ran the ball for the two points, and the score was 14-10 with more than six minutes left in the quarter.
The Punchers began to exercise their passing game, and it would finally pay off with only three seconds remaining in the third quarter when Elliot Bibb's 26-yard pass connected with Cody Wood to add another six for Mason, making the score 14-16. Rio Schmidt's kick was good, and the third quarter score would end as 14-17.
In the fourth quarter, the Punchers' defense proved itself, holding off any attempt by Goldthwaite to get on the scoreboard again. Additionally, the offense continued to wear down the Eagle defense, finally breaking through near the end of the game.
With only three minutes of play remaining, Schmidt ran in on a 6-yard sprint to put the score at 14-23, then added the extra point to put it at 14-24.
With only one minute remaining, Schmidt would again be called upon, and this time he did it on a 41-yard run, followed by his own extra point kick, and putting the score at 14-31.
The Punchers would hold off Goldthwaite's final attempt to score, making a stunning goal-line interception and closing out the game with no further Eagles' scores.
This week, the Punchers will be welcoming Comfort to the Puncherdome. Game time is 7:30 p.m.