Mason proves it's still unbeatable at home with win over Goldthwaite
Mike Lee | Special to the Standard-Times
Updated 11:20 p.m. CT Sept. 1, 2017
MASON – Even though he’s starting his seventh season as head football coach at Mason, there’s something Punchers fans have never seen Kade Burns do.
They’ve never seen him lose a varsity game at home.
Mason, the No. 6-ranked team in Class 2A, beat the visiting Goldthwaite Eagles 45-7 in Friday night’s opener as running backs Jake Cockerham and Emanuel Martinez each ran for two touchdowns and the Punchers’ defense limited the Eagles to 72 total yards.
The win extended Mason’s home winning streak to 30 games – all coming since Burns became head coach in 2011. Burns also improved his impressive coaching record at Mason to 72-8 overall – including a state championship in 2011 – and 57-3 in regular-season games.
“Our kids enjoy playing here because it’s such a great home environment,” Burns said. “We have great fans, and they like to get loud. It’s just a special place to play, especially with three of our coaches (including Burns) being former Mason players.”
So why have the Punchers been unbeatable at home with Burns as their coach?
“There’s just something about playing here in front of our hometown. There’s nothing like it,” said junior lineman Lucas Martin. “You want to put it on the line for your brothers – the guys you’ve been playing with since the third or fourth grade.”
“We get such great support for home games that we don’t want to let our fans down,” said sophomore running back Klay Klaerner, who rushed for 99 yards and a 21-yard touchdown. “We want to make our fans proud of us.”
“It’s mainly a lot of tradition,” said Mason quarterback Otto Wofford, who ran and passed for 139 yards Friday, including a 30-yard scoring run that staked the Punchers to a 21-0 second-quarter lead.
Burns is not only a former Punchers player, but he's also a second-generation Mason coach. His dad, Melvin Burns, coached the Punchers to a 101-32-1 record during the 1970s and '80s.
The only hiccup for Mason’s starters Friday came when Klaerner bobbled the opening kickoff out of bounds at the Punchers’ 7-yard line. But Mason quickly established momentum, driving 93 yards in 10 plays for a 7-0 lead. Klarner atoned for his bobble with six carries for 63 yards in the drive, including the 21-yard touchdown.
“The kickoff just slipped out of my hand,” Klarner said. “But it worked out pretty good for us.”
Wofford’s 139 yards and no offensive miscues atoned for last year, when he was 8-for-20 passing with two interceptions in his first game as a starter and Goldthwaite upended Mason 20-13 in the opener. It’s one of only three regular-season losses on Burns’ record at Mason.
“We made some costly mistakes last year against Goldthwaite (including a fumble return for a touchdown), but we’re all grown up now,” Wofford said. “I think we all felt a lot more comfortable out here tonight. We’re going to develop together as a team and see where it goes from here.”
Martinez made three total carries count for two touchdowns on runs of 3 and 25 yards. The 25-yarder gave the Punchers a 45-0 lead with 2:54 left in the third quarter. He set up another Mason touchdown with a 48-yard punt return.
Mason’s defense limited Goldthwaite to five first downs. Goldthwaite’s Quaid Seward, a 1,400-yard rusher last year, was swarmed in the backfield on most of his early carries. He had 19 yards on his first 11 attempts, but rallied to finish with 83 yards on 22 carries, including a 13-yard touchdown so the Eagles could avoid a shutout.
Mason 45, Goldthwaite 7
Score by Quarters:
Goldthwaite 0 0 0 7 — 7
Mason 14 17 14 0 — 45
MAS — Klay Klaerner 21 run (Fernando Torres kick), 6:37
MAS — Jake Cockerham 2 run (Torres kick), 2:52
MAS — Otto Wofford 30 run (Torres kick), 11:11
MAS — Emanuel Martinez 3 run (Torres kick), 3:14
MAS — Torres 35 FG, 0:05
MAS — Cockerham 1 run (Torres kick), 6:07
MAS — Martinez 25 run (Torres kick), 2:54
GOL — Quaid Seward 13 run (Leo Garcia kick), 8:17
First Downs 5 20
Rushes-Yards 27-61 33-268
Passing 11 66
Comp-Att-Int 6-16-0 10-16-0
Punts 8-33 1-41
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 9-54 3-22
RUSHING: Goldthwaite – Quaid Seward 22-83, Drew Hermesmeyer 3-(-)14, Team 2-(-)8. Mason – Klay Klaerner 10-99, Otto Wofford 6-73, Jake Cockerham 7-37, Emanuel Martinez 3-31, Josh Fluhmann 5-22, Chandler Buntyn 2-8, Team 1-(-)2.
PASSING: Goldthwaite – Hermesmeyer 6-16-0 for 11. Mason – Wofford 10-15-0 for 66, Bode McMillan 0-1-0.
RECEIVING: Goldthwaite – Kyle Schwartz 3-10, Isaac Chavez 3-1. Mason – Jake Comey 3-16, Christian Coe 3-10, Cockerham 1-14, McMillan 1-10, TR Kerr 1-8, Roman Coe 1-1.
RECORDS: Goldthwaite 0-1. Mason 1-0.