Late field goal stuns Comets, fall to Elks 15-14

Mason quarterback Larson calls at the signals as he drives the Comets downfield against Centerville. (Photo by Margot Orlando) 

Savannah Libby | Sports Writer

Centerville’s Jackson Courville’s 46 yard field goal with 15 seconds left on the clock dealt the Mason Comets a stunning 15-14 defeat to the visiting Elks. 

Leading 14-5 with under three minutes to play it looked like the Comets were on their way to opening the season 2-0, but when Centerville quarterback Chase Harrison hit Cameron Smith in the back the endzone to close the gap to 14-12 after the extra point, the Comets still held onto a slim lead and all that remained was the drama of the ensuing kickoff. 

The Comets were aware that the Elks would most likely attempt an onside kick but Centerville pulled off a stunning muddle huddle type of onside kick to catch the unsuspecting Mason receiving team, recovering the football in good field position that eventually led to the game winning field goal.  

Despite a sluggish offensive output, the Comets lead 14-5 at the half. The Mason coaching staff felt good about their defense holding the Elks to just five points, especially since Centerville put up 38 points on Greater Miami Conference foe Fairfield just a week ago.  

“Well after halftime I felt pretty good because we were outplaying them,” head coach Brian Castner said. “We just didn’t finish. We didn’t finish the game.” 

For the second week in a row, the Comets had difficulty moving the ball on offense.  After preparing all week for a Centerville defensive alignment, the Comets had to adjust when the Elks altered their defensive game plan. 

Centerville’s shift immediately resulted in points when the Elks recovered a bad Mason snap in the endzone at the 10:18 mark in the first quarter to go up 2-0. The Elks used their strength against the Comets and overwhelmed them with pressure forcing some Mason miscommunication by the offensive line. The Comets were able to recover from this early mistake by getting things squared away with their offensive lineman.  Senior offensive lineman Skyler Horn said communication was key as they moved forward throughout the rest of the game.

“Centerville came out in a different defense than we studied all week,” Horn said. “So we had to communicate between all of us on the line and I think we did our job just fine.”

While the offensive continued to struggle the Mason defense held the explosive Centerville offense in check, only allowing the Elks to three points when Courville hit a 46 yard field goal late in the first quarter.  

The Mason offense was finally able to get the ball moving downfield and just six seconds in the second quarter, quarterback Larson Brown hit receiver Quinten Kaylor for a 40 yard touchdown pass. Brown finished the game 19 of 29 for 260 yards and two touchdowns. 

Kaylor bounced off defenders to cross the goal line and was thrilled he was able to help the Comets go ahead and build some momentum. 

“I would like to get a touchdown every game to help my team,” Kaylor said.  “It’s all about what’s best for my team and what can score the most points and a touchdown does that for us.”

In the second quarter when Mason recovered an Elks’ fumble on their own 25 yard line it looked like the Comets were building some offensive momentum but Brown was intercepted in the red zone, one of two interceptions on the night, to end a promising drive that could have put some distance between the Comets and Elks. 

Once again the Mason defense stepped up to put the ball back in the Comets hands. Mason closed out the second quarter in thrilling fashion. Brown found receiver Sayeed Garnett open in the flat who bounced off two Elks’ defenders but as he crossed the goal line the ball was knocked out of Garnett’s hands. Senior wide receiver Cobi Lewis pounced on the loose ball and the referee threw up his hands to signal touchdown.  After Michael Tymitz’s point after kick, the Comets went into the locker room ahead by nine points. 

In the third quarter neither team could get the ball moving. Mason had one scoring attempt in the quarter when they elected to attempt a 46 yard field goal. The kick was no good and Centerville took over.

“We need to fix some things, some of the little mistakes, and do our job,” Horn said. “I think we need to focus on being more disciplined and having no more penalties. Not jumping offsides or being in the wrong alignment.”

Once again in the fourth quarter each team struggled to sustain long drives but with the Comets ahead 14-5, it looked like the home team was in position to hang on for a hard fought win. 

With 3:29 remaining in the game Centerville’s defense came through when Coby Castor picked off Brown and rumbled 33 yards to put the Elks within scoring distance with a little over three minutes to play. Then with 2:26 left to play Harrison found Smith for the touchdown and after the PAT the Elks trailed by two. 

Centerville then recovered the onside kick and despite a couple Mason defensive stops the Elks were within range for their strong legged kicker who drilled the kick and sent the Comets to a crushing 15-14 defeat. 

The Comets were stunned and the only thing Castner could think about was getting back to work on focusing on how his team could prepare for their GMC opener at home next week against Colerain. 

“Well we wanted to find out about our team, whether they’re young or inexperienced,” Castner said. “We found that we’re one and one, and next week, it’ll be a great way to go 1-0 against Colerain, who’s been pretty darn good for the past 20 years. They come here so we’ll figure out what we need to get better at and fix some things and move on.”