Playing against Humble Summer Creek in the second week of the season last year, Friendswood running back Mason Barnes was making a cut around the 10-yard line, trying to go into the end zone. He managed to score a touchdown but his season ended right there, suffering a torn ACL and a torn medial meniscus.
Barnes had to sit on the sidelines and watch as his team finished 9-3 overall, going three rounds deep into the playoffs.
“Sitting on the sidelines and not being able to help was certainly frustrating,” Barnes said. “I tried to be motivated and help my teammates in any way that I could and help coach up the younger running backs and be there for them and be a good teammate.”
This year, the senior has since made a full recovery and has helped the Friendswood Mustangs to a 6-2 overall record.
“We were a really good offensive scoring team last year and we struggled once Barnes left,” said Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann. “The dedication that he put in to recovery has made him an inspiration for the rest of the team, but we knew that he was going to do well this year.”
Before last week’s 14-10 loss to Clear Lake, Barnes and his offensive teammates had put up no fewer than 27 points in a game this season.
“We have very few guys who can carry the ball, and Mason is one of those guys who can do that,” Koopmann said. “He got hurt last year but with him being healthy this year, that’s a huge plus for us. We try and run everything through him.”
But recovering from last year’s injury was a long process.
“It was about a 10- to 12-month recovery,” Barnes said. “I didn’t start coming back to normal until Week 2 or 3. It was just a lot of quad work and it was long and tough.”
Recovering from the injury forced Barnes to sit out track and field for this past spring.
He hasn’t taken anything for granted this year.
“It’s great to be back,” Barnes said. “I go out there every day thinking that this could be my last play or my last game so I go out and play my hardest on every play.”
Even though the Mustangs entered this season with 48 seniors on the roster, there were still some question marks about the offense, primarily because of the loss of four-year starting quarterback Tyler Page.
But Friendswood has since responded back to the critics as they currently sit in a three-way tie for first place in the District 24-6A standings at 4-1 along with Clear Springs and Clear Lake.
“We had to replace a lot of guys on the offensive line and had to replace one of the best players in the Houston area in Tyler,” Barnes said. “We just worked hard all summer and put in the work in the weight room. The young guys have really stepped up.”
The Mustangs will look to get back on track following last week’s loss, which ended their six-game winning streak.
“We want to go as deep in the playoffs as possible,” Barnes said. “We’ve gotten better each week except for last week against Clear Lake. I think we have a lot of room to improve. I think we can turn a lot of heads and have a great run with the players that we have.”