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Mason Shorb’s 6 TDs help Rouse race past Bastrop to open district slate

Ross Burkhart
American-Statesman Correspondent
Rouse's Drew Henson outpaces Bastrop defenders for a touchdown during the Raiders' 50-17 win over the Bears at A.C. Bible Jr. Memorial Stadium in Leander on Thursday.

LEANDER — Thursday marked not only game day for the Rouse Raiders at Bible Stadium, but also head coach Joshua Mann’s 43rd birthday. By the end of the evening, there was plenty of reason to celebrate.

Rouse crushed visiting Bastrop by a score of 50-17 in a District 13-5A Division II opener that was decided long before fans left for the parking lot.

The Raiders marched across the turf with ease, beginning with a 7-play, 2-minute touchdown drive during their opening possession — a pleasant turnaround for Rouse (2-1, 1-0 District 13-5A Division II), which won just a single game last season.

“They didn’t like being 1-9,” Mann said, “We had so many unfortunate injuries to our senior class last year, that really put us behind. It forced us to be young and because of that youth, we’re seeing some of that play forward for us right now this season.”

Quarterback Mason Shorb executed a near-flawless performance, and not just as a game manager. The sophomore under center connected with his targets for five touchdowns through the air and tallied another using his legs.

While the Raiders already led 13-0 early in the second quarter, Shorb stood in the pocket and turned to his left, finding receiver Drew Henson on an open screen pass. Henson scurried past a pair of Bears defenders and found a wide open lane down the Rouse sideline.

In all, Shorb completed 11-of-16 passes for 308 yards to complement his six total touchdowns.

“He is an ultimate competitor,” Mann said. “He’s got a lot of brass. Love his attention to detail. He picked up the playbook extremely fast with a new offensive coordinator. The sky’s the limit for him.”

Although Rouse's offense started hot and grew hotter, the defense kept the pressure off by limiting Bastrop (1-2, 0-1) to only a field goal until late in the third quarter.

On multiple occasions in the first half, with the game still in doubt, the Bears worked their way into opponent territory, threatening to cut into the momentum. But the Raiders’ defensive unit managed multiple stops, twice by punts and once on a fumble which began the rout on offense.

“Our relentless energy — we’ve been opportunistic,” Mann said. “We’ve created a lot of turnovers already this year. I think turnovers come from great effort and hustle. There is no question this defense is doing that.”

Pleased with his program's overall effort, Mann praised the Raiders (2-1, 1-0) after the game but noted there were some things to clean up before next week’s matchup against Connally.

When asked about the team’s lone takeaway, however, the coach’s tone shifted and the football jargon melted away. On his birthday, Mann watched as his son, sophomore linebacker Jace Mann, collected the key fumble recovery that halted Bastrop’s best chance at scoring in the first half.

“It’s fun, it’s fun,” Mann said. “As the game goes on you forget that he’s out there, but then when you hear his name now, it’s pretty special as a father.”

Bastrop's Demire Thompson cuts back against the Rouse Raiders during the Raiders' 50-17 win over the Bears at A.C. Bible Jr. Memorial Stadium in Leander on Thursday.