Off and running: Mason's big effort earns high honors
Sophomore defensive tackle Mychal Savage was the defensive player of the game.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State senior tailback Marcus Mason has come into his own in the Penguins' first three Gateway Conference games.
The Penguins (6-1) have won three straight conference games and Mason has just gotten better each week.
The 5-9, 215 pounder from Potomac, Md., opened conference play with a 130-yard, two-touchdown performance at Missouri State. He followed that with a 197-yard, two-touchdown effort against Indiana State.
In last Saturday's 35-28 win at Western Illinois, the speedster had a career-best effort with 266 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns.
It was the second best rushing mark in YSU history. His touchdown run of 95 yards was the longest in YSU history and the second-longest in Gateway history.
"Marcus is a very hard worker, both in the game and at practice and it has paid off in big dividends for him this season," said YSU coach Jon Heacock. "But he'll be the first one to tell you that most of the credit belongs to the guys up in front of him, who have been blocking a lot of people this year."
Saturday, Mason and the Penguins will return home to meet Gateway Conference opponent Northern Iowa (4-2, 2-0) in the Penguins' annual Homecoming contest with a 4:07 p.m. kickoff at Stambaugh Stadium.
Mason, who was named the Hill, Barth and King offensive player of the game for the second straight week, also swept conference and national honors this week.
He was named the Gateway Conference offensive player of the week and the I-AA national offensive player of the week for his efforts.
Also repeating honors this week was sophomore defensive tackle Mychal Savage, who was the defensive player of the game.
The 6-2, 290 pounder from Hartsdale, N.Y., was the second-leading tackler against Western Illinois with 10 (one for a loss) and forced a fumble.
Special teams honors went to senior tailback Justin Reams (5-11, 205) from Miami, Fla., who was all over the field on kickoff and punt coverage.
The Jim Zdelar Offensive Lineman of the Week, for the second straight game, was senior tackle Pat Walker (6-5, 290) from Bedford.
Walker led an offensive line that totaled 464 yards, including 345 on the ground.
The Jermaine Hopkins Defensive Lineman of the Week was junior linebacker James Terry (6-2, 225) from Stafford, Va.
Terry finished with four tackles, had a pass breakup and a sack against the Leathernecks.
The Wash-on-Wheels Derek Pixley Hit of the Week was recorded by freshman linebacker Rashon Simons (6-1, 223) from Columbus.
Simons has been a big plus to the YSU linebacking unit, taking over for senior Jeremiah Wright, who was lost to the team with a knee injury earlier this season.
The Wachovia Leadership Award went to senior linebacker Marty Hutchinson (6-4, 220) from Newton Falls. The veteran is leading the team in tackles this season and is currently playing with a broken hand.