MIDDLETOWN — Week 8 varsity football preview for the Middletown-Mason matchup.
Setting the scene: The 1-6 Middletown Middies this week look to build on their three straight weeks of highly competitive play. But to do so, they will have to beat the Mason Comets, a team which has proven to be capable to running the football effectively and controlling the clock.
There is no denying that Mason, which enters Friday’s game at Barnitz Stadium with a 5-2 (4-1 GMC) record, has proven worthy of being a constant top-tier GMC program over the last decade.
The Comets are winners of four straight meetings in the series, as well as five of the last eight – going all the way back to the 2007, which was the debut of the series.
Of course, none of those past particulars will matter when the two teams meet this weekend, and history will play no role in the outcome of Friday’s important matchup.
Last week, both Middletown and Mason both suffered Week 7 setbacks. However, each team’s fate was delivered in a dramatically different fashion.
Colerain steamrolled to a 42-7 victory over Mason in a battle for GMC supremacy, while Hamilton narrowly knocked off Middletown 15-14 in a nail-biting race to the finish in their Butler County rivalry game.
“Competitively, we’ve made great progress this season,” said Middies coach Don Simpson. “The last three weeks we’ve put ourselves in position to win, but little things continue to restrain us from finishing games like we want.
We’re changing the culture and expectations of this football program. We’re getting closer each week, and we’ll continue to fight for success through Week 10.”
The series: The Comets lead 5-3 overall, and Mason remains the foe that Middletown has played less than any other team in the Greater Miami Conference.
Recent history has shown, the matchup typically features high-scoring shootouts, and final scores that usually favor the winner by a touchdown or less.
Last season, Mason defeated Middletown 41-14 at Dwire Field, and Middletown last beat the Comets 21-14 in 2011.
(2007, 47-46 Mason, 2009, 61-24 Middletown, 2010, 69-44 Middletown, 2011, 21-14 Middletown, 2013, 41-14 Mason, 2014, 22-6 Mason, 2015, 24-21 Mason, and 2017, 41-14 Mason).
Middies – MOST POINTS: 69, in a 69-44 win at Dwire Field in 2010. LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 37, from the 2009 road win. FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: 14, in the 21-14 victory win at Dwire.
Comets – MOST POINTS: 47, in a 47-46 shootout win at Barnitz Stadium in series’ inaugural game in 2007. LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 27, in 2013 and 2017. FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: 6, in the 22-6 2015 win at Dwire Field at Atrium Stadium.
Morris finding paydirt: Middies WR Shandon Morris has 10 receiving TDs since starting varsity play in 2015, and eight of those scores have accumulated this season. The Middies senior has 69 receptions for 1120 yards during his career.
2,000-yard mark: Middletown sophomore RB/KR Josh Bryant has accumulated just shy of 2,000 all-purpose yards (1943) in just 17 total games during his varsity career.
With 57 yards he can eclipse the all-purpose mark, and he needs just 44 kickoff return yards to eclipse the 1000-yard mark for his career. He has 956 return yards over two seasons.
Bryant had a career-high 185 kickoff return yards and a TD in Week 2 at Springboro, while also logging a career long 99-yard return that day.
In Week 6 against Sycamore, Bryant logged a career-high 252 rushing yards on 30 attempts (8.4 avg.) in the 31-24 loss to the Aviators.
Stretching the field: One thing Middletown has shown this season is explosiveness and ability to stretch the field.
Below is a listing of the Middies longest plays this season.
LONGEST RUSH: Bryant, 67-yards, SYC
LONGEST RECEPTION: Morris, 78-yards, PRN
LONGEST RETURN: Bryant, 99-yards, BORO
LONGEST FG: Rivera, 45-yards, SYC
LONGEST PUNT: Langendorf: 59-yards, WEST HIGH