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FairfaxSportsMadison football team rallies past Westfield

Madison football team rallies past Westfield

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It wasn’t a big surprise that the visiting Westfield Bulldogs were leading the Madison Warhawks in the March 13 high-school football game. In five previous meetings between the teams, Westfield won each time.

This time, though, the March 12 clash did turn out differently. After falling behind 14-0, Madison made numerous big plays on offense and defense the rest of the way, as the Warhawks shut down the Bulldogs and rallied to win, 21-14, in the Concorde District game.

Madison improved to 3-0, 2-0, while Westfield fell to 1-2, 0-1.

The big play that changed the flow in Madison’s favor was a 74-yard Justin Williams interception return for a touchdown on a batted pass by a lineman with 2:34 left in the first half. That cut the score to 14-10 after Connor Sevy’s extra point.

“That interception return gave us our belief back and changed the momentum,” Madison coach Justin Counts said.

The Warhawks had already settled down a bit after Sevy booted a 30-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-3 and slow Westfield’s progress.

“We got behind, but we didn’t get down on ourselves,” Counts said. “We were confident we could move the ball and we did, and we did a better job of gang-tackling in the second half.”

John Hurley intercepted another Westfield pass early in the third quarter to keep the momentum on Madison’s side.

With 8:28 to play in the game, Sevy made another field goal to cut the lead to 14-13.

“Our defense was playing well. So we wanted to take the points there because we felt our defense would get us the ball back and give us another chance,” Counts said.

Madison did get the ball back and began its winning 50-yard scoring drive with 2:36 left, capped by a one-yard quarterback sneak by Connor Barry. Alex Jreige followed with the two-point conversion run and the Warhawks were ahead, 21-14, with 1:32 left.

Barry (86 yards passing) completed big passes to Ben Eldrige and Jackson DeSimone on that winning drive.

Madison’s Austin Wysocki (seven tackles) had a sack, Williams (five tackles) and Kevin Chadwick broke up passes and Donavin Hansberry made a big play on Westfield’s ensuing possession.

Hurley and Eldridge had multiple catches for Madison; Braden Holt had a key catch; and Barry, Jreige (53 yards), Brendan Wyka and John Klein were Madison’s leading rushers.

Westfield, a perennial power, made uncharacteristic mistakes. In addition to the interceptions, the Bulldogs dropped a touchdown pass and were penalized multiple times.

NOTE: Most of the previous meetings between Madison and Westfield were close over the years. The Bulldogs won the 2019 meeting by the same        21-14 score as the March 12 contest . . . In 2018, Westfield defeated Madison twice by 17-15 and 17-7 scores, and won 10-6 in 2017.

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