Two-way standout critical to Eastwood’s success

Mark Griffin

It can be difficult to get Mason Glaze to talk about himself.
As far as he is concerned, he’s just one cog in Eastwood’s offensive and defensive machine and it’s his job to help make sure that engine keeps churning. The 5-foot-9, 145-pound senior outside linebacker/halfback said he loves “everything” about this year’s third-ranked Division V team, which took a 5-0 record (2-0 Northern Buckeye Conference) into Friday night’s NBC game against Woodmore.
“I love the chemistry with everyone,” Glaze said. “We play well together and we all trust each other. We play hard to the whistle every single play. I think that’s really helping us this year.”
Eastwood coach Craig Rutherford calls Glaze, who started at outside linebacker a year ago, “critical to our success.”
“Mason is one of the toughest, most unselfish players we’ve ever had,” Rutherford said. “He understands where he fits in the defense. He studies his opponent and knows what to expect. He’s got great speed, but probably his No. 1 attribute is his desire to hit. He’s just excited to go out and make tackles, and he does it within the framework of our defense.”
Glaze is Eastwood’s third option to run the ball on offense, behind seniors Justin Pickerel (904 yards, nine touchdowns) and Jaden Rayford (598 yards, 11 touchdowns. Pickerel and Rayford are averaging 10.5 and 8.9 yards a carry, respectively. Glaze, meanwhile, has rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries (5.5 average) and he has one catch for 15 yards. Eastwood has only attempted 14 passes all season.
Glaze said he has no issue with only getting to run the ball four times a game. He likes defense better, anyway.
“I’m happy with the carries I get,” Glaze said. “When I’m not carrying the ball, I like hitting people and blocking for my teammates. I like playing defense. I like reading the other team’s offense and moving fast and making plays and hitting people.”
Rutherford said, “He’s had some nice carries for us. He had a huge catch on third down against Ottawa-Glandorf. He has had some big plays in moments where we’ve really needed him. He doesn’t get as much credit as the other running backs, but he’s the one leading the way with his blocks. Obviously everybody would take more carries, but that doesn’t change the way he works. You might look at Mason and he’s 145 pounds, but they’ve never seen the way he works in practice or in the weight room to get where he is.”
Glaze said two reasons why Eastwood averages 338 rushing yards per game is the performance of the offensive line and the chemistry the running backs have with each other.
“We all know each other and what we’re doing on each play, and we all trust each other,” Glaze said. “If I’m getting the ball, I trust them to block guys for me. If Jaden gets the ball, he trusts Justin and me to block for him. I think I do a good job of blocking. The last three years I have worked hard at everything I do, and that includes blocking.”
Glaze played at 130 pounds as a junior and tried to add weight over the summer. He competed at 132 pounds for the Eagles’ wrestling team last winter, and he is a three-time district wrestling qualifier.
“All summer I was trying to gain a lot of weight for football,” Glaze said. “The wrestling team went to the Disney Duals (in Orlando, Fla.) and I had to lose weight. That didn’t help. I was doing a good job of gaining weight, but once I lost that weight, I had trouble gaining it all back.”
Glaze has learned to use his size to his advantage.
“I really like getting low and tackling guys,” he said. “I’m small, so I can get lower than everybody else and that helps. I can use my speed to my advantage.”
Defensively, the Eagles are allowing just 12.2 points a game. They handed a 3-1 Otsego team a 28-0 loss last Friday, and opponents are averaging a mere 7.8 first downs a game through five games. Eastwood also has wins over Ottawa-Glandorf (21-14), Bowling Green (49-14), Maumee (49-13) and Fostoria (55-20).
Glaze has 34 tackles this season, second on the team behind senior inside linebacker Zack Kwiatkowski’s 42. Glaze also has seven tackles for loss, two sacks, two caused fumbles and one fumble recovery.
“Mason was about 130 pounds a year ago and he didn’t flinch,” Rutherford said. “This guy can play. He got that experience in the state finals (in 2017) and he’s been a leader for us ever since. He’s an honest guy, respectful. He’s a good student and he represents the way we want students to represent the school and the football team.”
Glaze said he’s looking into earning an engineering degree after high school, but his sole focus this week is helping the Eagles take down Woodmore.
“As a team, we all look forward to going 1-0,” Glaze said. “We just focus on that week. We go 1-0 every week and that will lead to bigger things.”


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