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Mawson gets off to great start at Ryan

Frankie Mawson had an opening night to remember. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Frankie Mawson knew for a while  he was going to start Friday night.

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But he wasn’t exactly where he thought he’d be.

Mawson is a junior on the Archbishop Ryan High School football team, and after transferring from Wood after the school year, he was preparing to play for the Raiders.

Last year he was the starting quarterback for the Vikings, but at Ryan, he was settling in at cornerback. 

Then, on the week of the opener against his former team, Ryan found out the player slated to start behind center was ineligible due to the transfer rule. 

Mawson found out he was going to be the quarterback. It wasn’t a huge deal since he played the position last year at Wood, and he was working in as the backup quarterback, but still, it’s not easy to play the position with all the preparation in the world. He had only a few days as the starter to get settled in.

Imagine what he’ll do when he gets comfortable.

Mawson went 29-for-39 for 447 yards, four passing touchdowns and another on the ground in his team’s 37-34 loss to Wood on opening night. It not only broke a school record, it broke the Catholic League record for passing yards in a game.

A loss is never good, but when you consider the Raiders trailed 31-0 at one point and then went ahead 34-31, it was a great showing for a team with lots of new pieces under first-year head coach Mark Ostaszewski.

It was also a great way for a new quarterback to enter a school.

“I literally found out I was starting the week of the game, maybe Monday or Tuesday because our other guy had to sit out,” said Mawson, who lives in Normandy and grew up playing football for Fox-Rok and Liberty Bell. “I was definitely prepared because I was working in as the backup. We were still in a battle, but it felt like he was going to be the quarterback, and I was fine with that. I came here wanting to help, and if that is on defense, I was happy with that.

“It was fun to play like that, but we were more upset about the loss. I think we made adjustments that really helped, and we started to play better in the second half. I think we did very well, but we lost so we still have a lot of work to do.”

Mawson, as a good leader, knows there’s so much work that needs to be done. But he’s also extremely proud of his teammates and the only time he bragged about what happened on Friday was when he was talking about other people on his team. 

“In the second half, the offensive line blocked so well, the adjustments were great,” Mawson said. “And the receivers did great. They really made plays. I couldn’t have done anything without them. They were making plays all over. I’ve been friends with and played with t. They’ve been great, we have great chemistry.”

Those receivers had nights to remember as well.

Damien Morgan went for a school-record 194 yards on 12 grabs. He added a touchdown. Bryce Warner grabbed nine balls for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

It was an amazing offensive output in the second half, and Mawson believes that type of play is what the Raiders are capable of doing every weekend.

He credits the coaching staff with that, particularly his head coach and his main offensive coach, Joe Wade. 

“The guy I spend the most time with is Coach Wade, he really got me ready for this,” Mawson said. “He’s a great coach, best coach I’ve ever been paired with. We work really well together. He can take anyone and have them do what I do Friday night. I give a lot of credit to him.

“And our head coach is so prepared. He’s at practice two hours before all of us. And he played quarterback, he’ll see things I never see. He’ll just tell me about different reads. I’ve learned a lot by playing here.”

Mawson hopes the offense continues to pick up momentum as he continues to get more comfortable in leading the Raiders’ charge.

He also believes Ryan could be a team to be reckoned with throughout the season. 

“I think it helped that last year I played against teams like St. Joe’s Prep and Roman, they’re so good, it helped me a lot,” Mawson said. “It felt good to have a big game against Wood, it wasn’t a revenge game or anything like that, but I’m friends with those guys, so it was fun to play against them, and it did mean a lot to have a good game. But we lost. We have to continue to get better.”

In order for Ryan to accomplish its goals, the Raiders have a lot of work to do. But Mawson is confident the team will only be better going forward.

“We have huge goals, we want to have a great run,” Mawson said. “Our goal is to make a run, make states. We have big goals. I don’t know if people outside our team know, but we’re going to be a very good team.

“We have great chemistry. We have so much work to do, but we can do it. We’re trying to change everything. We want to have a winning season. We want to work hard and you can expect that all year. We’ll work for it.”

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