Comets fall to Sycamore Aviators 21-7 in battle of the skies

Bryan Hudnell | Staff Writer

The Mason Comets traveled to Sycamore Friday night and endured their first loss of the season after falling to the Aviators 21-7 in the annual Battle of the Skies.

The last time Mason played Sycamore was the 20-7 Regional Semifinal playoff loss at Barnitz Stadium in Middletown. Senior Jake Bracher said the Comets had a chip on their shoulder entering this game after losing to the Aviators twice last year.

“You know going into this game, I think we were all excited throughout this week and chomping at the bit to get back at these guys for what they did to us last year,” Bracher said. “We were all ready to go out there and have some fun.”

The Comets came into the game with the highest scoring offense in the Greater

Miami Conference (GMC) — a 43 point average. They were tested this week against the Aviator’s defense who did not allow a single point in their first two games.

After a scoreless first quarter, Sycamore’s starting quarterback, sophomore Drew Altemuehle, was sidelined for the rest of the game with an injury. Senior wide receiver Jonathan Malek took the snaps for Sycamore and threw a 7 and 53-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Myron Williams. The Aviators took a 14-0 lead heading into halftime.

Even though Bracher and the Comet defense prepared for the possibility of Malek taking snaps at quarterback, Malek still accounted for 63 percent of Sycamore’s offensive production.

“It really didn’t matter who they had at QB with us on defense,” Bracher said. “We were ready for whoever was back there and even though he might’ve got the better of us on some plays, we were ready for what he had to throw at us. Malek is a great athlete and I think he was a weapon for Sycamore’s offense but we weren’t going to stop being relentless and at the end of the game, we gave him and that offense everything we had.”

After the halftime break, senior defensive back Tyree Mizell was able to intercept Malek’s pass for his second interception on the season. However, the Sycamore defense responded by forcing the Comets to punt. The score still remained 14-0 Aviators at the end of the third quarter.

With 8:21 remaining in the fourth, senior running back Jordan McConnell extended the deficit to 21 after a one yard touchdown run, giving the Aviators a three possession lead. In the closing minutes of the game, senior quarterback Jake Harris broke multiple tackles in his 28-yard touchdown run, giving Mason their first and only points of the game.

This loss has the potential to have GMC and playoff implications down the road, but Bracher said the Comets can’t dwell too much on the loss to Sycamore.

“Nobody likes a loss and that taste in your mouth after a defeat,” Bracher said. “None of our guys are hanging their heads and are feeling sorry for themselves. We’ll get better and take that into our next game.”

The story of the game was the Comets’ struggles on third down as they only converted one of their ten attempts. They also went 1-3 on fourth down conversions and turned the ball over three times. Bracher said the team needs to focus on fixing these mistakes in their match-up against Hamilton next week at Dwire Field.

“Across the board, I think everyone has room to improve,” Bracher said. “There’s something everyone can get better at so we will take that into next week’s preparation and get what we deserve next Friday at home.”

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Photos by Staff Photographer Tanner Pearson.