Mason Football Looking for Its First Win
Posted: September 28, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Dave Andrews
The five-time conference champion Mason football squad, a club team, has had better starts. After playing their first four games of the 2007 season, the Patriots are still seeking their first victory and are hoping for a win at home tomorrow.
Coming into the season, head football coach Joe Pascale knew his team would face a daunting schedule.
“All of our games up to this point have been against tough Division II scholarship programs with full-time coaching staffs,” Pascale says. “We’re a very young team on all levels. Along with a new quarterback, we’ve got new guys in most of the skill positions. But we’re improving, and the new kids are really coming along.”
But the players aren’t the only ones gaining much-needed experience. The coaching staff has seen a lot of changes this season as well.
Virgil Seay, a former wide receiver for the Washington Redskins, is the latest addition to the lineup of coaches. As the new receivers coach, Seay is one of two Mason football coaches to have played in the NFL. Defensive coordinator Matt Dyson played linebacker for the Oakland Raiders from 1995 to 1997.
Dyson, now in his fifth year coaching at Mason, was promoted this season from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator, and he also runs the strength and conditioning program. And former Patriots quarterback B.J. Quigley came back to Mason, this time as the quarterbacks coach.
“B.J. has a tremendous understanding of what we are trying to do on the offense,” Pascale says. “And I have a lot of confidence in Matt. He has a great relationship with the players and is a wonderful leader.”
After stumbling out of the blocks this season, the Patriots hope to get past the inexperience and regain their focus as they prepare for their fourth home game of the season on Saturday. The Patriots will face Seaboard Conference foe Valley Forge Military — a Division II scholarship program.
Valley Forge (1-2) is coming off a close loss last week to Fork Union Military Academy.
“We’ve lost some games that I think we should have won, so this week’s game against Valley Forge should be very competitive,” Pascale says. “After seeing improvements over the last month, this should be close.”
Louis Velma, a junior safety/linebacker and co-captain of the team, agrees with his coach’s assessment of the team’s progress.
“We’ve not played as well as we could have so far this season,” Velma explains. “We have some really talented players on the team this year, but we’ve made some costly mistakes.”
Last Saturday, the Patriots suffered a devastating 41-9 loss to Southern Virginia University. Both teams were winless going into the game, but a sharp offensive unit for SVU came ready to play while a young Patriots defense showed much room for improvement.
“I know our defense is going to come out and play much more aggressive football,” Velma says. “We’re really focusing on stopping the run and sharpening the secondary. We’ve also got to force some turnovers and get some defensive points on the board.”
Saturday’s game will take place at 7 p.m. on Robinson Field behind the P.E. Building on the Fairfax Campus. Students may enter for free with a valid student I.D. Tickets for the general public are $5.