Clarksdale’s Mason Horne had one preference: he preferred to carry the ball himself and follow a block instead of handing out a block for another ball carrier.
As a subclass, Horne weighed around 205 pounds – not a bad weight for a running back, but the weight was not “good weight.” So, in February 2020, Horne started the Keto Diet and dropped to 165 pounds, then he joined Fitness Depot that summer and started gaining weight.
Horne has maintained his fitness routine and is seeing results from good diet and strength training. He entered Friday’s game in Sevastopol after collecting 311 yards and five touchdowns in just 32 carries for the Bulldogs so far this fall, and Clarkdale head coach Jason Soules said the success is due to the fact that Horne took the time to sculpt his body into an ideal shape for playing the running back and defensive back.
“Mason has always been our kicker – and he’s always been a good kicker for us – and we were trying to put him on the pitch and considered moving him to guard. Maybe that’s why he started training so hard, I don’t know, ”Soules said with a chuckle. “Over the past year he has worked extremely hard to transform his body for soccer and football, and it has been a great blessing for him and for us. All the good things that happen to him, he deserved them. I don’t have enough superlatives to say about his work.
While getting in shape wasn’t limited to soccer, Horne admitted part of it was because he really wanted to play a skill position.
“I wanted to get in shape in general, but I also wanted to play as a running back instead of playing on the offensive line,” said Horne. “I also wanted to go faster and just lose some weight.”
The last time he weighed himself, Horne said he weighed 176 pounds and his goal is 200 pounds of “good weight”, which is why he will continue to gain weight in the short term. Ahead of his junior year in 2020, Horne admitted he only lifted weights for football, but a membership to Fitness Depot in the summer of 2020 changed his outlook on bodybuilding.
“At first I had a lot of friends who were all members there, which helped encourage me,” Horne said. “To be honest, during my first and second year years, I didn’t like working out because it kind of killed me, but I fell in love with it at Fitness Depot.”
Coaching, Horne said, is like football in that it is an escape from the daily stresses of life.
“Going to the gym allows me to get away from it all,” Horne said. “I just put on my headphones and am in my own little world.”
It was reflected on the pitch as well, which Soules noticed this summer when the Bulldogs went to 7v7 competitions in places with fast athletes.
“All of a sudden Mason is catching some deep balls against guys from Meridian High and other places that we know have fast guys, so we were pleasantly surprised that Mason could run fast,” Soules said. “He’s had a great summer, and the season has been as good as it gets for him so far. “
The added speed and physical strength gave Horne more confidence on the pitch.
“I really feel like all the hard work paid off,” Horne said. “I feel better about myself and more confident to hit the holes knowing that I’m one of the fastest guys out there. It energizes me and pushes me.
Being in better shape also makes Horne more energetic in general, especially on game days.
“Honestly, I feel more excited than I’ve ever been,” said Horne. “When I wake up on Friday now I have butterflies and I’ve never felt that way before. “
When not getting tough yards on the ground or playing defensive back, Horne is also Clarkdale’s reliable punter and spot kicker, an aspect Soules has enjoyed for several years now.
“Within 40 yards we’re pretty confident that if the snap is good and the grip is down, he’s going to hit the kick,” Soules said. “It makes the game a little easier to know that when you step into the 30 you have a chance to score (at least three) and you don’t always have to do that on the fourth down. This team is really lucky to have him and we have benefited a lot from him.