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FairfaxAir game was big park of Madison's success

Air game was big park of Madison’s success

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It’s no secret that a strong running game was a huge part of the Madison Warhawks’ success this season. Behind that potent ground attack, the football team played in a Virginia High School League state championship game for the first time.

Madison lost 42-17 in the Dec. 11 state final to the Oscar Smith Tigers of Chesapeake.

Also on offense, though, while not throwing a lot, Madison mixed in and owned a season-long efficient and productive passing game, led by senior quarterback Connor Barry.

In the Warhawks’ four playoff games leading up to the state final, Barry completed 70 percent of his passes. He went 31 of 44 for 497 yards and five touchdowns, including at least one scoring pass in each contest.


He was 6 of 9 passing in two of the games, 8 of 9 in another and was 11 of 17 in a 28-6 state semifinal victory over South County. Five different players caught passes in three games and four in the other.

“Connor is one of the best passers we have had here,” Madison offensive coordinator Tim Hecht said. “He is very accurate, reads the defenses well and he doesn’t make mistakes.”

 Hecht noted that Madison’s strong running game, led by senior back Alex Jreige with 1,628 yards rushing this season entering the state final, helps the passing attack – allowing receivers to get open, then Barry finding them with on-target throws.

Madison’s top receiver in those first four playoff games was 6-foot-4 wide receiver Darren Knicely. The sophomore had 15 catches for 221 yards and a touchdown. He caught five passes for 70 yards against South County, and had his hands on two other balls that he nearly caught.

“Darren gets open and has been a weapon all season,” Barry said.

Sonny Endicott, another sophomore wide receiver, has been another favorite passing target. He had five catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns in those first four playoff games.

Jreige caught a few screen passes in those four wins, with junior tight end Nolan Wilbricht and senior back John Hurley being occasional targets.

The most passes Madison attempted during any regular-season game were 15 in two contests.

The team’s most passing yardage in any regular-season contest for the Warhawks were 116 against Marshall, as Barry was 7 of 11 during that outing. The fewest yards in a game were 39 in a 48-0 rout of Langley.

The most single-game passes Madison completed were 11 against Yorktown, and the fewest were four in two different contests.

Overall during the 10 regular-season games, Madison was 63 of 112 passing, and averaged 85.3 yards per game.

In the state-final loss, Madison obviously threw more, 22 times, because the Warhawks fell behind and were forced to throw more.                         

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