Jun 13, 2024

Russell's Mason Rohr gaining confidence going into senior year

Posted Jun 13, 2024 5:31 PM

Special to Great Bend Post

Mason Rohr stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 180 pounds, but he’s a Paul Bunyan figure for those who struggle with a lack of self-confidence.

“My entire life, I have been someone that’s struggled with the mental aspects of sports and confidence,” the incoming Russell High senior quarterback said. “This past year I turned a leaf.”

It all started before the 2023 season-opening football game against Ellis. 

“My head coach, Christien Ozores, put me in contact with a former teammate of his on being a better leader and mental player,” Rohr said. “Talking to him helped me so much and that’s when I finally broke away from those struggles and had one of the best games of my life.”

“Once he started running the show on his own, I knew he was going to be special,” Ozores said. “He always took coaching and has a great arm and has some running ability as well. He is a great high school athlete/quarterback.”

He scored six touchdowns to lead the Broncos to a 47-28 win over Ellis. He threw for 255 passing yards with five TDs and added 70 rushing yards and a TD.

“It felt great, because it was my first real game as a varsity quarterback,” Rohr said.“After that game, I knew I not only could compete but also have success at that level.”

Confidence was now gushing like oil used to spew from the tops of nearby oil derricks.

“After that first game I saw what confidence would do for me,” Rohr said. “After going through struggles during the year I was starting to lapse again, but I corrected myself with help from my coaches and teammates, got back on track and started winning reps again and knew I had to have that confidence to succeed.”

Succeed to the tune of a breakout junior season in which he passed for 1,400 yards with 15 TD passes to go with 275 rushing yards and five rushing TDs.

“I was timid, I am a perfectionist that never wants to make mistakes in any aspects of my life,” he said. “But knowing I can go out there and trust my brothers and my work, I don’t worry and just go play my game with no regrets.”

“He put a lot of time and effort into the weight room the past few years which gave him a lot of confidence and improved his leadership,” Ozores said. “He understands the importance of his role as a QB is to lead and take care of the ball and dish it out to his playmakers.”

Braylon Bittel, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound offensive guard/defensive end at Plainville, faced Rohr last year.

“He’s very aware of the defensive line,” said Bittel, who’s throwing javelin at Cloud County next year. “Nearly every play we got through the line and he was quick and agile to escape the pocket.”

Before his power of positive thinking series, Rohr was an Average Joe on the athletic field. 

“I knew success would come but none of it was ever good enough. I was never content so when I looked at all the negative aspects that’s all I thought about going into games,” said Rohr, who’s had baseball talks with Washburn and Pittsburg State among other Kansas colleges.

“I just seemed to always have self doubt, but this year in football I decided it was time to just go do myself and dominate,” Rohr continued. “That’s what I did and I have tried to carry that to everything else.”

“Mason Rohr is the teammate that you want to play with. He brings you up if you mess up or if you don’t know what you’re doing,” teammate Dax Ervin said. “He will help you till you get it right. Mason is the one to go out of his way to help get the team fired up and ready to play. I couldn’t ask for a better quarterback to lead our football team.”

Rohr has carried his winning confidence to his primary sport of baseball where he stars as a catcher.

“I struggled a little bit more this year pitching wise, but my hitting was really good batting .580,” said Rohr, who’s playing summer baseball in Dodge City. “I had a few good games pitching but nothing crazy.”

Rohr threw out five runners this spring on very limited opportunities and has thrown out four already this summer.

“It feels great, I hang my hat on defense so stuff like that gets me way more amped up than hitting,” Rohr said.

“He’s really athletic and even smarter when it comes to IQ about the game,” Hoisington’s Tony Moore said.

“I knew he was going to be special as soon as he was a freshman in high school,” Ozores said. “It is his love and passion for baseball. He was a top-three baseball player for us as a freshman. He has a high level IQ and an insane work ethic. We would stay after practice and hit.”

“I can finally see the work I have put in coming out, while there is a lot more available to obtain next year,” Rohr said. “My coaches and teammates deserve tons of credit for how great they have been to get me in the best position to make plays and be my best self.”

One person who would be astounded at his Bronco turnaround is a younger version of himself. 

“He would be shocked, he would wonder what has changed and why it did,” he said. “Me now and then are night and day difference in mentality.”

Rohr added.

“I am so proud of my early self, even though he never saw the success I’m seeing now, I needed his work to get here,” Rohr noted. “I take the approach of you can never work too hard, and that work has allowed me to go out and play with no fear because of how much I have put into myself.”

“He was a wall behind the plate that did a good job not letting people run on the base path,” Ozores lamented. “He ended up getting All-State votes as a sophomore. His work ethic and love for the game only increased as his high school career continued.”

“When he’s up to bat I know he will get a hit, when he’s on the mound I know that he will get us outs,” Sam Thielen said. “But especially when he is behind the plate I can trust that he will take over and lead our team.”

Rohr has a noteworthy message for all younger fans of his.

“When all you worry about is not failing, that’s all you will do,” Rohr said. “I encourage all kids to play sports because it gives the best representation of life you will get. It will have ups and downs though, failing and success can’t be your worry. You need to be able to enjoy the time you have and that will lead you to the confidence you need to have success.”

Another local oil derrick could be seen on I-70 oozing and erupting into the Kansas sky with Rohr’s confidence. Thanks to some key people in his life.

“I do want to emphasize how grateful I am for my teammates, coaches, family and friends for the support to get me to where I am,” he said. “Especially Christien Ozores, who is now the head football coach at Salina South, he was with me through the ups and downs always making me better. At my peak he was always pushing me making me better and he gave me every resource and tool I need to be successful.”