Mason senior Nick Pearson returned a kickoff 81 yards to snap a tie and Jeron Besecker sealed it with a 55 yard interception return with 4:50 left in the game as the Mason Comets beat Winton Woods 41-27 Friday night at Winton Woods.
The Warriors (1-2) had taken a 21-0 lead 10 seconds into the second quarter on two Jalen Lumpkin touchdown runs and a 51 yard touchdown pass from Kenny Mayberry to Kenny Mabrey. The Mason defense was lifeless against the aggressive Winton Woods defense. But the Comets took advantage of Winton Woods’ overpursuit as Preston Hutchinson hit scatback Bryson White with a misdirection swing pass out of the backfield. White went down the sidelines untouched as the Comets cut the lead to 21-7 midway through the second quarter. The play awakened the Comets as the defense then used its discipline and size advantage to shut down Winton Woods.
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The Comets cut the Winton Woods lead to 21-14 at the half after a key Winton Woods facemask on a third-and 12 play set up Matt Sora’s 24 yard TD run.
Pearson tied the game on a sensational interception return off Mabrey’s backside, returning the pass before it hit the ground. Grant Kramer’s PAT tied the game at 21 with 9:02 left in the third quarter. The two teams exchanged TDs, with James Grace scoring for Mason and Lumpkin scoring his third TD for Mason to keep the game tie at 27. Both teams missed their respective PAT. That set the stage for Pearson’s heroics. After Lumpkin’s TD, he took the ensuing kickoff from the 19 and went right on a slippery field. He then reversed field at about the 50 and found daylight left and shook off two potential tacklers on his way into the end zone.
Forced to pass, the Warriors’ talented but erratic sophomore QB Mayberry missed Mabrey in the flat and Besecker weaved his way down the right sidelines for the clinching TD.