FOOTBALL STARTS 5-0 IN GMC, SURPASSING PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS
Andrew Little | Sports Editor
The Mason Comets have shrugged off preseason expectations to start their season undefeated in Greater Miami Conference play, one of their best starts ever.
Last season the Comets finished their season with a 4-7 record and finished in seventh place in the GMC. The Comets lost significant talent with their outgoing seniors, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. They graduated four starting offensive linemen and their four leading receivers.
Outside preseason expectations for the team considered them a middle-of-the-pack team in a loaded GMC. Lakota West, Princeton, Colerain, and Fairfield have been the upper-class of the conference for the past several seasons. Currently, Mason is sitting at the top of the standings with Lakota West, who they will face on Friday. Head Coach Brian Castner said that while the team’s success may surprise some on the outside, internally they know that the wins are a reflection of their hard work when no one was watching.
“In life in general there’s a lot of critics,” Castner said. “Regardless of what they say, whether it’s positive or negative, I always tell our players to worry about themselves. Would we say that we’re surprised? No, because we feel like we’ve trained hard. All offseason we’ve done all the little things the right way. This is what we expect and what our standard is when we do things the right way.”
The Comets’ season got off to a slow start with a 9-0 loss to Gahanna Lincoln in week one but bounced back with consecutive 20-point victories over GMC teams Hamilton and Oak Hills. These wins gave the team momentum heading into their clash with Colerain, who is historically the best team in the conference. The Comets defeated the Cardinals 32-6 for the first time in school history. The defense was dominant in the win. Team captain Bryce Faulk led the way with three tackles for loss. Faulk cited the camaraderie on the team, especially within the senior class, as the fuel for their historic win and early success.
“The senior class all agreed we have to become closer and really tight to win,” Faulk said. “When we do that, we can really win some games and beat teams that we haven’t before like Colerain. It was us coming together, laughing together but also tuning it in our minds that it’s a brotherhood. If you mess with someone, you’re gonna mess with me. Just like a family.”
The Colerain victory energized the Comets as they won their next two in-conference games against Middletown and Lakota East. Next up is undefeated Lakota West. The Firebirds are one of the best teams in southwest Ohio, and the Comets are on a five-game win streak. Aaron Spears is one of the four captains. They have taken it upon themselves to speak in front of the team multiple teams throughout the week, including at the end of Thursday practices, to promote unity and get the players energized for the upcoming game. Spears said that the team knows that many view them as heavy underdogs against West, but the most important thing is that they are confident in themselves ahead of their tough matchup.
“All we need is for everyone on the team to believe,” Spears said. “We don’t need anybody else to believe in us. All we need is for us to believe in us.”
(Chronicle Sports Writer Savannah Libby contributed to this article)
Photo by Lily Haller