File Photo: Ozzy Jaime/

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas-Mason’s defense came through again. A unit that’s given up less than four points per game pitched its sixth shutout to hold off Shiner 7-0 in a Class 2A Div. I area round playoff game at The Pfield in Pflugerville on Friday.

“They lined up in that double-wing set that we had seen on film,” said Mason coach Kade Burns. “They didn’t run it on film as much as they did tonight. They were just running some split game where they were bringing the guy across in motion and giving it to him. Sometimes the quarterback would keep it on the naked. Early on in the game, we were getting a little too wide and giving them angles so we tightened our outside linebackers up a little bit and they ended up making plays when we had to… Our guys really played a good game defensively, for sure, and I thought our special teams was pretty good for the most part.”

Mason (12-0) held Shiner (8-3) to 115 yards on 40 plays (2.9 yards per play). The Comanches only reached the red zone once and that drive ended with Mason senior Christian Coe blocking a 35-yard field goal with 5:26 left in the third quarter.

“All week in practice, we want to keep a real simple game plan,” said junior Jake Cockerham. “Keep it simple, play fast, play hard, make big plays when we need to. That was the game plan on defense. We only ran about three calls I’m pretty sure.”

The Punchers’ lone touchdown came with 2:45 left in the second quarter when senior tight end T.R. Kerr snuck out to the left on a roll out pass play where the entire offense went right. Junior quarterback Otto Wofford patiently waited for the defense to completely clear out before tossing a 10-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Kerr.

It was a great play, but it might not have happened without a crucial offsides that Mason drew on fourth-and-five in the red zone. The Punchers also got Shiner to jump offsides on third-and-three in the final minute, which allowed them to kneel out the clock.

“We were trying to get them offsides,” Burns said. “Fortunate enough, they did it tonight. They’ve done that a lot in the films that we got from them and tonight we got them a couple times and they really helped us a lot. They gave us a first down and kept the sticks moving.”

Cockerham and sophomore Klay Klaerner led Mason on both sides of the ball. Cockerham had 64 yards on 16 carries while Klaerner pitched in 60 yards on 11 totes. They were also all over the place on defense, making a number of big tackles from their linebacker positions.

“I’d just moved from Wimberley and I didn’t play both ways all the time so this year has taken a lot of getting in shape,” Cockerham said. “It’s gotten better over the season, I guess. Just a lot of running after practice, helping out… I like (Mason) a lot. Everybody is friendly. (There’s) a lot of support from the community. Everyone comes and watch to support. Town basically closes down.”

Wofford added 77 yards on 6-of-14 passing. His leading receiver was senior Jake Comey, who had four catches for 60 yards. Senior Lane Nevlud led the Comanches with 47 total yards, 21 coming on nine carries, and the other 26 on one reception. But Shiner deserves a ton of credit for staying in the game until the final minute. Mason had won every other game its played this season by at least 41 points.

“It took a lot of mental toughness from our entire team,” Cockerham said. “We haven’t been in a situation like that yet. Our hardest situations have almost been practice, just practicing hard for this moment right here, and we actually came through with the win.”

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