During some football seasons, a squad has a great deal of building and bonding to accomplish. For the Harper Longhorns, with a very young lineup of starters and an untested mix for a team, this has shaped up to be type of year.
During Friday night's meeting with the Mason Punchers, Coach Kade Burns evaluated the Harper team very carefully and opted to give many of his players the opportunity to try out their skills at new positions rather than using his first team players to run up the score.
The Punchers took control of the game early, and never gave it back to the Longhorns. Rio Schmidt began the scoring for the Punchers almost three minutes into the game, delivered the PAT, and score was 7-0 with 9:12 left in the first quarter.
Late in the quarter, Luis Castillo carried in the ball on a 44-yard run for Mason. Schmidt booted the PAT, and score was 14-0 with 3:52 left in the first quarter.
The Longhorns made a few small pushes against the Puncher defense, where Burns had also filled positions with some players who had been in need of additional playing time. Still, they were unable to turn any of those pushes into a true scoring opportunity.
In the second quarter, Rio Schmidt scored again early in play on a seven-yard run. The PAT was good, and the score was 21-0 with 8:55 left in the half.
Only minutes later, Seth Hudson carried in the ball on an 18-yard run for the Punchers. With the extra points, the score was 29-0 with 5:36 left in the quarter.
With only seconds remaining in the half, Cody Wood took a long 35-yard pass from Elliot Bibb for the fifth Mason score of the night. An attempt run in the extra point failed, and the half time score was 35-0.
There would be only two scores in the second half, both by Mason.
The first was midway through the third quarter when Raul Siguerra made the final carry for the Punchers. The final was a safety forced by Kyle Zavala early in the fourth quarter.
The final score was 44-0.
This week, the Punchers again head out on the road, this time to Ozona. The Lions just finished a resurfacing of the artificial turf on their stadium, which will provide an opportunity for the Punchers to become acquainted with that surface prior to playoff games.
Game time is 7:30 at Lion Stadium.