After meeting Canyon View High School returning senior, Gus Mason, we are calling the young man 727 (seven-two-seven). Dedicated doesn’t even begin to describe Gus. Riding his bike seven miles to practice, then out on the field practicing for two hours, and finally back on his bike for another seven home, lades and gentlemen, let us introduce you to Mr. Determination. 727
Football is his sport. Always has been and always will be and his dedication to playing the sport was evident early on. “We knew even before he was born that he would play football,” remembers Tessa Mason, Gus’ mother. “He started asking me to play since he was about four years old and wouldn’t quit until I let him play. Of course it helped Gus to have his older brother Josh (who is ten years older) rough him up and makes him tougher too. He was just ready to play football.”
Gus being the youngest of two boys with a ten year separation between him and his older brother one might think that the two do not share much in common. However, in the Mason household that is not the case. “We are really close and we spend a lot of time together” shares Gus.
The two brothers have certainly learned the value of hard work and build a strong ethic from his father Mitch. It was Mitch who taught Gus and his brother how to lay cinder block. The three would begin by building up a wall on the garage floor then tear it down, clean it up, and build it again. This not only helped Gus learn to master the use of the tools, but also gave him the opportunity to learn how to do things correctly and not quit until the work was complete.
Preparation for his final year is something to be admired. The Falcon’s goals and practice routine is already set and the young man is determined to say the least. “I am going to give it all I can,” exclaims Gus. “I am not going to give up until the whistle blows. I will be there early before practice to get time in and I will stay after practice to get even more in. I am going to do everything I can and keep on working every day to get better.”
Reflecting on his freshman year Gus remembers playing a junior team towards the end of the season “I think they had some of their varsity players who didn’t play much in too,” Gus says. Falcons down by two touchdowns, Gus relieves his moment. ”It was close to the end of the fourth quarter and they were doing a lean block up the middle and I was the outside linebacker and I hit their runner as hard as I could. The next thing I knew was that I had stripped the ball from him and ran it the other way for an 80yd touchdown.”
The returning senior did well as a freshman in the sport he has loved since before he could even play. Yet, the young man would not long after tear his ACL and sit out for the next two years in recovery. “I was really planning on getting so much better and playing my sophomore year. I was really looking forward to it. One morning though for practice I put my cleats on, started doing some drills, and just stepped wrong and my knee twisted. That was when my ACL tore.”
With any injury, when it happens, you go through a series of emotions to be sure. Yet, it’s when you hear the news from those medical professionals that solidify and either magnify or ease an athletes fear. Will I or won’t I play again? Gus in that moment handled himself with maturity and his signature determination. “When we were at the doctors they said it was a life changing event and that I wouldn’t be able to play football again but I was not going to let that stop me. I was determined to play again.”
“I was in there when he was getting examined by the doctor,” remembers Mitch. “He said it was a career changing injury and I told the doctor that if anyone was going to come back from this, it would be him. This young man is so determined and so dedicated that it will be him.”
It was then that the real work for Gus began. Physical therapy was absolutely necessary but for Gus didn’t come fast enough. When he would be put on the walking machines and his pace set by the therapist Gus would wait until the therapist’s back was turned and crank up the difficulty level a few more notches.
“It’s crazy how dedicated he is. Once he sets his mind to something you will not stop him. He will put on weight packs and ride his bike those seven miles to and from practice with weights on,” says mom. “He runs with a parachute on to get stronger running, he seriously is just Mr. Determination.”
When the doctor finally analyzed Gus after his recovery was complete “the doctor almost broke down into tears,” remembers Mitch. “He said that Gus was in the number 1-2% of those that recover from that type of injury and something he had not seen in over 20 years.”
“I am not going to give up until the whistle blows. I will be there early before practice to get time in and I will stay after practice to get even more in.“
Strapping on his pads for the last year as a Falcon and only two of four at that Gus knows not to take anything for granted. “It was hard watching my teammates play. I love playing the game.”
With his love of football comes a love of serving others. “I will be serving a [LDS] mission and would like to go to either Germany or Ireland. If I go somewhere in the states maybe some place like Mississippi.”
Not too long ago Cedar experienced a bit of flooding that damaged quite a few homes. “Our whole neighborhood got flooded, 100 plus homes,” remembers Tessa. “We didn’t see Gus for almost a week after that flood because he was going door-to-door with a couple of his teammates and they were fixing peoples houses, tearing out carpet and sheetrock from flooded basements and then helping make the repairs. He just loves to serve other people. He was there with Zac Howard, Austin Russell, Tyrel Robinson, Dylan Jensen and these guys just went door-to-door to help. It was really great.”
As an avid hunter, fisher and camper, Gus loves being in the outdoors. Difficult to choose the favorite between the activities Gus feels that he loves each of them equally since it is more about the company than the activity itself. ”It is a family thing for us. We get to all go out together and spend time in the outdoors together. I really like that we get to do that,” he says.
Gus’ message from his brothers on the field, “stay dedicated and remember hard work always pays off.” • HSSI