Sycamore defense throttles Mason in battle of unbeatens

MONTGOMERY, Ohio – The “Battle of the Skies” trophy will remain at Sycamore.

“It was a great game,” Sycamore coach Scott Dattilo said after the host Aviators defeated rival Mason 21-7 Friday night at Coach Bud Acus Alumni Field at Sycamore Stadium. 

"The score doesn’t really reflect the game because of the turnovers at the end, but it’s always hard fought and it’s always thrilling.," Dattilo said.  "It’s great for the communities and we’re fortunate to do it again.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Sycamore 21, Mason 7

Sycamore (3-0, 1-0 Greater Miami Conference) has won three consecutive meetings over Mason (2-1, 0-1 GMC). The Aviators won six of the past seven games against Mason going back to the 2012 season.

The “Battle of the Skies” trophy was awarded for the first time in Week 3 due to a change in scheduling this season. Sycamore leads the all-time series with Mason 8-3, including two wins last season.

“It’s a big game,” Dattilo said.

The Sycamore defense continued its outstanding start to this season. The Aviators held its opponents scoreless through 11 quarters. Sycamore had three interceptions Friday night.

Sycamore has played three different styles of offense this season  - a spread team, a spread that wants to run and a wing-T team. The Aviators thrived in all three games.

“We’re stout up front and we have athletes on the back end,” Dattilo said. “We were just waiting both offensively and defensively to make some plays and to make some unscripted things happen.”

Senior wide receiver/quarterback Jonathan Malek had 14 carries for 60 yards. Malek took over for the injured starter, sophomore quarterback Drew Altemuehle, in the first half.

 “This win means a great thing,” Malek said. "It's been a great start."

Malek was prepared to play in Wildcat packages Friday night but he stepped in nicely with the full-time quarterback duties.

Senior wide Myron Williams had three receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

“It was just special,” Williams said. “We hadn’t really connected on the passing game in the games before, and for us to come out and to show that we can pass and to come back with the run – it shows we are very versatile. I felt like we proved who we are.”

The Aviators’ offense fed off the defense’s performance.

Senior defensive lineman Tate Goodyear (Yale) had a game-high eight tackles including a sack. Senior linebacker Garrett Boyd had seven tackles including a sack.

Sycamore senior Khalis Hicks picked returned an interception 42 yards at the 5:35 mark of the second quarter. Then, Altemuehle found senior Williams for 29-yard pass connection. Two plays later, Williams pulled down a reception on the left side of the end zone to give the Aviators a 7-0 lead.

Mason punted on its next possession, and the Aviators took advantage of starting at their own 40.

On third down, Williams caught a pass from Malek and sprinted 53 yards down the right sideline to the end zone to give the Aviators a 14-0 lead with 55 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Aviators added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Sycamore sophomore defensive back Noah Blase had an interception at the 10:14 mark to give the Aviators the ball at the Mason 26. That helped to set up sophomore Jordan McConnell’s 1-yard touchdown run to make it with 8:21 left.

Mason scored late when senior quarterback Jake Harris scored on a 28-yard run with 1:09 left. Mason had 256 yards of offense but couldn’t convert early in the game.

“Our defense did everything we wanted them to do,” Mason coach Brian Castner said. “Our offense in that first half – we were in the red zone three times and we didn’t get any points. We challenged them at halftime but we were a dud again (in the third quarter).”

Prior to Friday night, Mason and Sycamore played in Week 10 since the Comets entered the conference in the 2007-08 school year.

The GMC went to an eight-game schedule due to the difficulty of finding non-league opponents in the early portion of the season. The conference will use the eight-game schedule as a four-year trial run and then evaluate it.

Mason plays host to Hamilton Sept. 15. Sycamore plays at Colerain Sept. 15.

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