Coming into last Friday’s showdown at Enterprise, safety Jarius Mast had two interceptions on the young season as Foothill looked to improve to 3-0. He doubled that output in a 28-15 win over the Hornets, snagging four Zach McNeil passes.
His ball-hawking skills earn Mast the Shasta County Sports Player of the Week honors for Week 3.
“There were times we got pressure to him and Jarius just played center field and was a ball hawk,” Foothill coach Joey Brown said of his junior safety. “He doesn’t think a whole lot, but reacts and does a great job.”
Brown thinks the four interceptions is a school record. Northern Section expert Kevin Askeland said Cal-Hi Sports’ record book lists five as the state mark in a game with no Northern Section player listed.
Mast’s thievery started in the first quarter, and the 5-11 junior added two more in the third quarter – both as Enterprise was in plus-territory and looking to cut into Foothill’s 21-7 lead.
His fourth interception came in the fourth period as the Cougars held a 28-15 edge, but saw their offense unable to sustain red-zone drives to put away the Hornets. As Enterprise looked to pull within one score, the Hornets were engineering a 10-play drive with time slipping away. The hosts faced a first-and 19 after a holding call. McNeil dropped back looking for Jahari Johnson down the right side, but was pressured by the Cougars’ defensive line and the QB had to get rid of the ball. Mast, playing that deep cover 2, reacted, hawking the ball out of the air in stride at the 20 and returned it 50 yards to the EHS 30.
Mast said he’s had similar success in youth football, but it’s different on high school football’s big stage.
“In varsity it’s a whole different ball game,” he told Shasta County Sports. “It feels good to do what we worked on in practice and it set me up for success.”