Lakota West running back Mikel Horton runs for a touchdown as he’s wrapped up by Mason defensive back Gus Thieken in the first quarter. Photo taken by Joseph Fuqua II.
Kevin Goheen reports:
It’s been six years since Lakota West has started a football season 4-0 but the Firebirds reached that mark Friday night behind a dominating defensive performance to beat Mason 30-13 Friday night at Lakota West.
Senior defensive back Tyler Cross had two interceptions and the Lakota West defense held Mason to just four first downs through the first three quarters in the Greater Miami Conference opener for both teams.
Lakota West, which went 3-7 each of the last two seasons, is ranked No. 5 in the Enquirer Division I coaches’ poll, while Mason, ranked No. 10, falls to 2-2.
“Our defense played great,” said Lakota West coach Larry Cox. “I felt like we were prepared at the Thursday practice walk-through and I felt that at walk-through for pregame. The kids executed the game plan and the coaches did a good job of calling it.”
Mason committed three turnovers plus had one punt blocked and a bad snap on another punt that led directly to 23 points for Lakota West.
Lakota West quarterback Malik Grove looks to throw during the first quarter. Photo taken by Joseph Fuqua II.
“Turnovers, special teams – everyone took their turn,” said Mason coach Brian Castner. “I can’t hold the defense too accountable because it was the other two phases that didn’t come to play. When you do that over and over you can only last so long.”
Lakota West led just 10-0 at halftime despite its decided advantages in turnovers and field position. The Firebirds’ defense held Mason to 26 net yards offense and two first downs in the first two quarters.
Mason ended the game with 190 yards offense and nine first downs. Lakota West finished with 356 yards offense and 21 first downs.
Mason forced Lakota West to punt on the opening possession of the third quarter but went three-and-out and punted the ball back to the Firebirds.
Junior quarterback Malik Grove hit senior wide receiver Grant Pence for a 37-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-15 play that gave the Firebirds some breathing room, 16-0.
Lakota West junior running back Mikel Horton carried the ball 24 times for 105 yards and scored three touchdowns, all following a Mason turnover or mistake in the punt game that gave the Firebirds short fields.
Darryl Johnson was leading the GMC with 543 yards rushing coming into the game but was held to 98 yards on 24 carries, most of which came in the fourth quarter after Lakota West had taken a 30-0 lead. Johnson scored a pair of touchdowns, including a 32-yard run around the right side that gave Mason its first points.
Mason started sophomore Rodney Hutchinson at quarterback. Lakota West focused its defensive efforts on stopping Johnson and making Hutchinson beat them.
Cross’ first interception set up Horton’s opening touchdown of the game. His second pick stopped a Mason possession after the Comets had recovered a muffed punt in Lakota West territory.
“He was turning his shoulder and I was just reading him. He’s inexperienced,” said Cross. “This is great. I don’t know what it feels like (being 4-0). It’s good. We’ve just got to keep working.”
LW – Horton 1 run (Martin kick)
LW – Martin 30 FG
LW – Grove 37 pass to Pence (kick blocked)
LW – Horton 1 run (Martin kick)
LW – Horton 13 run (Martin kick)
M – Johnson 32 run (Patterson kick)
M – Johnson 1 run (run failed)
Records: Mason 2-2 (0-1 GMC), Lakota West 4-0 (1-0).
Posted in: Fall sports, Sports |