Football notes: Mulvane’s Mason, North’s running backs, Independent’s new field
Mulvane’s Mason living up to expectations
Mulvane has been a pass-happy team for season after season, with its quarterbacks throwing for at least 1,600 regular-season yards since 2008. Quarterback Ty Redington threw for more than 2,000 yards in nine games in 2012.
While that hasn’t been the case this season — Mulvane has just over 600 passing yards — running back Michael Mason is making the most of the focus on the run game.
He has 1,518 rushing yards, a bright spot on a team that has battled injuries.
“I’ve watched him through middle school and grade school, the whole process of going through the Mulvane football program,” Mulvane coach Dave Fennewald said. “The thing he’s gotten better at is following blockers and accelerating through the hole.
“He runs well for his size, and he’d try to run people over. Now he’ll sit there and be a little patient, watch his holes develop and then he’ll accelerate through those holes.”
Mulvane (3-4 overall, 0-1 Class 4A-District 12) has battled injuries, losing 20 players for at least a game, and several for the whole season. There’s been a broken leg, a broken shoulder, concussions, ankle injuries.
“Injuries are a part of football, but I haven’t had this many in 27 years of coaching,” Fennewald said. “We two-platoon, but a lot of our backups are freshmen. They have played a little on Friday nights because of the situation we are in.”
Mason had an injured ankle in 2012, missing two games, but he hasn’t had such issues through seven games.
“He’s been healthy this year, and that’s been a key for us, as well,” Fennewald said.
North’s depth at running back
When North opened the season, the plan was to use Sean Bernard, Caleb Franklin and Kalen Elliott and pound the football at teams with its run game.
“We did not have any offensive success,” North coach Joe Belden said. “We attribute that to a variety of factors: we weren’t controlling the line of scrimmage, we had great opponents.”
And Elliott, Bernard and Franklin, also crucial defensively, got tired.
“It’s hard to condition somebody to run however many plays, 140, 150 plays in a game,” Belden said. “We started giving some other guys a look back there. Ray Robinson has had a couple good games and Jose McDonald, our kid from Puerto Rico, has had some good games.”
Belden said Robinson excels at making defenders miss, while McDonald runs in the hole well, with constantly churning legs.
By having two more quick, talented athletes, North (1-6, 1-0 in Class 6A-District 7) has more options to rely on.
Robinson and McDonald “are a nice complement to each other,” Belden said. “We can rotate the other kids in at fullback and keep them fresh.”
Independent moving up
Independent’s football field is moving a bit north.
While Independent’s new field is still on campus, it has finished installing artificial turf where it’s track has been.
The track isn’t done yet, but the turf is and the lights have been installed, so Independent can play host to Remington on Friday on the new field.
“There was a need for improvement,” Independent athletic director Keith Williams said. “The field was not in great shape, the track was not in good shape. We needed more space, needed an additional field. It was something in our athletic facility that was sorely needed.”