Hey folks, it is finally here, the 2014 UIL State Football Championships. I am going to try to give you a preview of every contest that has a Central Texas area team in it, and we will start with the Mason vs. Canadian game.
Kickoff scheduled for Thursday, 1:00 pm
How They Got Here
Mason: 44-20 Shiner, 42-0 Three Rivers, 24-20 Refugio, 27-7 Centerville
Canadian: 57-0 Windhorst, 34-0 Stratford, 62-14 Abernathy , 49-14 Mart
Last Game Recap
Mason: It was all about clock control for the Punchers. They took an early lead and never looked back. When I say early lead, I mean Mason was able to score on its first three possessions. To give you an idea of how dominate Mason was in the first half of play, the Punchers had 36 snaps for 221 yards, controlling the clock for 19:07. In comparison, Centerville only had the ball for 4:53 and ran nine (yes, only nine) plays for 18 total yards.
The Punchers were held to a field goal on their first drive, but their defense was their impenetrable self. Kyle Zavala anchored the defensive unit that forced a fumble that Mason was able to turn into a touchdown to make it 10-0. The next drive was a 75 yard showing of the Punchers balance. Luis and Miguel Castillo were efficient on the ground and it helped set up the passing game. The drive ended with a 32-yard touchdown pass to James Perlichek to bump the score up to 17-0. Most importantly, the Punchers were able to convert on fourth down, right outside the red zone, to keep the drive alive.
The second half did not fare much better for Centerville. They were moving the ball well into Mason territory, until Punchers defense caused another turnover. Mason’s Go Chanriang nailed a 27-yard field goal to push the lead to 20-0 with 3:45 in the third. Centerville was fighting for their life, but last Mason possession finished the Tigers. Methodically, Mason moved the ball 74 yards in 12 plays, finishing with a Luis Castillo 27-yard touchdown run. Centerville put together their own 75-yard drive to get on the scoreboard, but by then the game was over.
Canadian: Mart’s football head was left as foggy as the weather, as the Panthers could not figure out a way to stop Canadian. While they are known for their air attack, Canadian showed off its balance in the contest. The scoring for the Wildcats came from the air on their first drive where QB, Tanner Schafer, hit a touchdown pass. The Wildcats quickly put another touchdown on the board, then Schafer connected with Ryan Royse to make the score 21-0. Mart’s offense was uncharacteristically off point, not converting on chances, losing possession, and even missing a chance to take an early lead with a missed field goal on their first drive.
The Wildcats capitalized on the off-night for Mart. Chance Cook had three rushing scores to go along with his 113 yards rushing. Marc Marquez pitched in with 118 yards rushing on 11 carries. Whlie Schafer was 13 of 24 passing for 209 yards with three touchdown passes. The defense for Canadian was stellar all evening, and Mart was just not able to get the rhythm going.
Title Game Outlook
Mason has been in this situation before, as they find themselves in a style clash. Mason is known for their punishing rushing game. They have three runners, including their quarterback, that can tote the rock. The Punchers are equipped with a massive offensive line that has punished opposing defenses throughout the season. Defensively, Mason will be the best defense Canadian has faced this season. Mason’s defensive line is big, they hustle to football, and most importantly they cause turnovers.
Canadian is known for their ability to score through the air. Similar to Refugio, they enjoy running the spread and causing match up problems in the secondary. Also like Refugio the Wildcats show balance with the spread by having a consistent running game. This was evident with the game against Mart. Defensively, Canadian has been solid only giving up points in their last two contest. They are capable of causing turnovers and they use their team speed to gang tackle.
The only way to beat Canadian is to outscore them. While that is basis of winning any points based game of skill, the Wildcasts have a potent offense that will score quickly. Interestingly enough Mason’s best counter to the Wildcats offense is their own offense. The Punchers offense is methodical. The Mason offense will simply line up and punch the opposing defense in the mouth. Just when the defense commits to stopping the Mason run, they will use play action pass to hit a big play down field.
This match up is very even (as it should be when we get to the Finals). But I like Mason to win this game, and I will tell you why. They boast a huge advantage with the size of their offensive line. I know the Canadian defense will use its speed advantage by lining up in a stack and sending stunt blitzes on the regular. It is the Vegas theory, (or my Vegas theory) if you roll the dice enough times, eventually you hit a winner. I expect the Wildcats to blowup a few plays in the backfield with their defense scheme. However the Mason offense will use their size upfront to wear out the speedsters. The Punchers will control the clock and keep the Canadian offense off the field as long as possible. The Mason defense will have a challenge, but expect the Punchers to render the Canadian offense one-dimensional as they look to shutdown the running game.
Championships are usually won with a strong running game and a great defense. Mason has both of those things. While those are cliches that are attributed to championship teams, let me give you another reason while I like Mason’s chances. The Punchers have been phenomenal on offense at converting on fourth down throughout the playoffs. This tells me that Head Coach, Kade Burns, believes in his team and is not afraid to take chances. I like those things in a coach.
I see this one going the way of the Mason Punchers.
Friday Football Fever Score Predictor: 34-27 for the Canadian Tigers. Remember folks that is from our fancy computer (I gave you my prediction), you can try the home version on our homepage.