What a difference a week can make.
For George Mason, that difference came on the back of senior running back Connor Plaks. The 5-foot-6 dynamo ran for 197 yards and three first-half touchdowns to carry the Mustangs to a 48-6 victory over host Madison County on Friday night.
George Mason’s offense, which is predicated on using its speed in the outside running game, was something the Mustangs struggled with in their 35-20 loss against Strasburg a week ago. From the start of Friday’s game, it was apparent they were intent on not letting that happen again.
“We were able to get to the edge a little better than we did last week,” Mason head coach Adam Amerine said. “I thought our skill guys were a little faster than Madison’s outside linebackers, so that was our game plan. Last week against Strasburg, we had trouble with allowing too much penetration up the middle. The offensive line did a good job of preventing that tonight, and it showed.”
Plaks didn’t waste any time getting warmed up on what was a chilly and damp night. On the Mustangs’ first offensive play, he raced 83 yards for a score to give his team a 7-0 advantage with 4:41 left in the first quarter.
Plaks added a 5-yard touchdown scamper at the 10:02 mark of the second period, along with a 60-yarder later in the stanza, propelling Mason (1-2) to a 28-6 halftime lead.
“We stepped up as a team tonight and played for one another,” Plaks said. “A lot of our work in practice was to play for one other, and it paid off.”
Just before the half, sophomore George Papadopoulos got in on the action with a 29-yard touchdown scamper, giving George Mason a 28-6 lead.
Junior Robert Silva added 153 rushing yards of his own for the Mustangs, including a 61-yard touchdown that put them up 42-6 late in the third quarter.
Madison County (0-2) was missing star lineman Jacob Sacra due to a right knee injury, and two other starters sat out as well.
“We were back on our heels and not being aggressive,” Mountaineers coach Jon Rasnick said. “[Mason] did a great job of running their stuff, and we didn’t do 60 percent of the stuff we practiced.”
Madison’s lone score came in the second quarter on senior Khalid West’s 2-yard plunge.
West recorded a team-high 75 yards on the ground.
Madison returns to action with a game at William Monroe Friday.