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FairfaxSportsMadison football team will play for state title

Madison football team will play for state title

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As was the case for their past couple of history-making playoff victories, the latest postseason win for the Madison Warhawks established yet another significant milestone for the high-school football team.

By virtue of defeating the visiting South County Stallions, 28-6, Dec. 4 in a Virginia High School League Class 6 state-tournament semifinal game in Vienna, Madison (13-1) will play in a state- football title contest for the first time in program history.

The state final is Dec. 11 at noon at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Madison will play the defending champion Oscar Smith Tigers (12-1) of Chesapeake.

“It is awesome to be playing for a state title,” said Madison senior runningback Alex Jreige, who rushed for 159 yards on 34 carries and a touchdown against South County (11-3).


Madison senior linebacker Ryan Salvosa and senior quarterback Connor Barry agreed with Jreige.

 “They [South County] beat us in this game here last year then put their school flag in our midfield logo. That motivated and ignited us ever since that day, and gave us something extra to play for,” Salvosa said. “And now we’re the most successful team in Madison football history.”

Said Barry: “We are so excited to beat South County and now have this opportunity to play for a state title. It’s amazing to be the best team in Madison history.”

The Warhawks enter the state final with a single-season school record 13 victories, all in a row, as well as a program-best four playoff wins in one campaign.

Prior to this season, Madison had reached the state semifinals three times, losing each contest, including last season to South County, 29-22, stoking Madison’s fire to get revenge when the rematch came about.

This season’s state semifinal win was Madison’s 11th blowout victory this fall, all coming by 22 points or more. The Warhawks have allowed just 25 points in those four postseason games.

Against South County on Dec. 4, the Warhawks led 7-0 after the first quarter, 28-0 at halftime and gained 345 total yards, including 230 on the ground. John Kustra rushed for 32 yards, Angelo Jreige for 15 and Barry for 20, including touchdown runs of eight and five yards. Barry threw to Sonny Endicott (two catches, 21 yards) for Madison’s other touchdown. Connor Sevy booted four extra points.

Madison’s second touchdown was a 14-play, 55-yard drive, including two fourth-down conversions. The Warhawks converted five fourth downs during the tilt.

“We executed our game plan on offense and our offense was moving,” Barry said.

Said Jreige: “I knew I would get a lot of carries in this game and that was fine. Our offensive line played great and our run game was really working.”

 Barry was efficient passing, completing 10 of 17 passes for 115 yards. Darren Knicely had five catches for 71 yards, and John, Hurley, Nolan Wilbricht and Alex Jreige all had one catch.

 The offensive line included Kevin Gaston, Edrees Noory, Ciaran Sullivan, Owen Cass and Tyler Whittle. Starting left tackle Grant Boody missed the game with a knee injury, but said he hopes to play in the state final.

Salvosa, Austin Wysocki, Kyle Porter, Jake Green, Eric Anderson, Tobias Walker, Ethan Lanier, Michael Delgado and Hurley were among those leading the Madison defense, which allowed South County just 37 first-half total yards (minus one rushing) and 184 for the game. Linebackers Wysocki and Salvosahad fumble recoveries on defense and Hurley, Delgado and Kevin Chadwick broke up passes. Delgado blocked an extra point.

Salvosa stuffed a South County runningback for no gain on the Stallions’ first offensive play.

“That set the tone for our defense,” Salvosa said.

Madison head coach Justin Counts said the Warhawks have hung their hat on defense all season.

“Our defense really rallied to the ball and gang tackled again in this game,” Counts said. “We wanted to get back to this game again this season and keep making gains and progressing as a program. We were ready and came to play.”

NOTES: Former Madison quarterback Tim Hecht, a 1983 graduate, is now the team’s offensive coordinator. The Warhawks had strong teams when he was the quarterback, but never advanced this far in the playoffs. He joined the coaching staff when Lenny Schultz, another 1983 Madison graduate and standout player as a runningback and linebacker, became the head coach. Schultz was died in a crash on the Capital Beltway in June of 2017. “The guys are playing well. It’s exciting to have this opportunity,” Hecht said . . . Alex Jreige has now rushed for 1,628 yards this season and he has scored 29 touchdowns through the 14 games, entering the state final.

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