For a good while, the Madison Warhawks were hanging around with heavily-favored, nationally-ranked and defending champion Oscar Smith Tigers in the championship game of the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state football tournament.
In the end, as the 13-1 Tigers did to all of its opponents in victory this season, Oscar Smith won going away, 42-17, Dec. 11 at Old Dominion University in Norfolk to win its fourth state title. Madison, playing in a state football final for the first time and enjoying its finest season, finished 13-2, as the Warhawks had their 13-game winning streak snapped.
The 42 points were twice the number Madison had allowed in any other game this season. Oscar Smith entered the state final averaging 52.4 points per game with its big-play offense, and ranked No. 1 in Virginia in most polls.
In the state final, Madison took a 7-0 first-quarter lead on a fake field goal, with holder Daniel Jacobs passing nine yards to Angelo Jreige for the touchdown, and Connor Sevy adding the extra point. The pass capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive.
Oscar Smith quickly answered to tie the game at 7 on a 39-yard TD pass and an extra point.
Madison was hoping to limit big plays, but the Tigers’ six touchdowns all came on such snaps – covering 96, 57, 39, 34, 30 and 14 yards – amassing 270 of the teams’ 502 total yards.
Oscar Smith took the lead for good at 14-7, was up 21-10 af halftime and 35-17 after three quarters. Tigers’ runningback Kevon King led the offense by rushing for 287 yards and ran for three touchdowns, including runs of 96 and 57 yards. Oscar Smith gained 381 yards on the ground.
Sevy booted a 31-yard second-quarter field goal for Madison and in the third period, Connor Barry threw a 17-yard scoring pass to Nolan Wilbricht.
Madison gained 264 yards, with Barry rushing for 77 yards and completing 11 of 20 passes for 86. He had a 50-yard run, setting up Madison’s second touchdown.
Sonny Endicott caught four passes for 24 yards, Cord Yates caught three for 43, and Jreige and his older brother Alex Jreige each had two catches.
On the ground, Alex Jreige rushed for 65 yards, giving him 1,703 yards on the ground this season.
Alex Jreige also completed a 27-yard option pass, as Madison pulled out all the stops, having big success on the three trick plays the Warhawks used.
Yates had 71 yards in kickoff returns and John Hurley had a 46-yard return. On defense, Hurley had an interception and Kyle Porter and Ethan Lanier had sacks.
Sevy was just wide on a 40-yard field-goal attempt late in the first quarter.
Top tacklers in the state final for Madison were Porter, Lanier, Hurley, Ryan Salvosa, Austin Wysocki, Jake Green, Eric Anderson, Tobias Walker, Michael Delgado and Kevin Chadwick.
Madison had a 4-1 playoff record, winning the first four games at home and wearing their all-black uniforms. In the state final, Madison wore white tops with black pants.
In addition to finishing second the state final, Madison first won Concorde District and 6D North Region championship this season.
NOTES: Madison senior offensive lineman Grant Boody played in the state final despite having a significant knee injury and wearing a heavy brace on his hurt joint . . . Alex Jreige finished his Madison career with more than 3,600 yards rushing . . . The 13 wins were a single-season most for Madison . . . There was much fanfare regarding Madison’s first appearance in a state football final. The team left the school in two big buses on Friday, Dec. 10 by virtue of a police escort with students and faculty cheering on the sidewalks.