There are no secrets.
The game plan will be straightforward for the Madison Warhawks when they play the host and undefeated Fairfax Lions (13-0) at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 in a semifinal game of the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state football tournament.
Madison (6D North) and Fairfax (Occoquan) are each region-tournament champions. The Warhawks are making their third straight appearance in the state tourney, finishing second last season.
To win, Madison, 10-3 and winners of 10 straight games, believes it must control the ball and sustain long scoring drives with its power inside running while eating the clock on offense. On defense, the Warhawks know they have to contain Fairfax standout senior runningback Tony Rojas.
The Penn State commit has rushed for 2,133 yards and 35 touchdowns in 12 games this season. He has caught 13 passes for one TD. Rojas has rushed for 202 or more yards, with a high of 250, in the team’s past four games, and scored 15 touchdowns in helping Fairfax to its most single-season wins.
Also on offense for Fairfax, quarterback Jack Worthen has passed for 1,031 yards and eight touchdowns. He has thrown little in the last four games because Rojas has been so productive on the ground.
Madison’s defense has been tough in three playoff games, holding each opponent to fewer than 200 total yards. The last two of those teams – Yorktown and Centreville – had high-yardage ground attacks that were limited to just 74 and 66 yards, respectively, and no rushing touchdowns by that Warhawks’ defense.
That unity is led by lineman Eric Anderson and linebacker/defensive backs Kevin Chadwick and Michael Delgado, who helped to shut out Yorktown’s offense.
On offense, Madison has been basic and productive behind the hard inside running of Angelo Jreige and the accurate passing of quarterback Mac Lewis. Jreige has rushed for more than 1,100 yards this season, including 264 in Madison’s past two playoff games. Lewis has passed for just under 2,000 yards this fall.
Tight end Nolan Wilbricht and receivers Cord Yates and brothers Dominic and Darren Knicely are other top offensive weapons for Madison.
“Fairfax has a very good runningback and they like to spread it out and get him the ball. Our defense will have its hands full,” Madison coach Justin Counts said.
Fairfax has a lot of two-way players, which Madison hopes can work to their advantage with a late-game fatigue issue for the Lions.
Madison and Fairfax have faced two common opponents this season in Lake Braddock and Langley. Madison lost to Lake Braddock, 34-31, and defeated Langley, 28-3. Fairfax routed Langley, 38-7, and topped Lake Braddock twice, 29-14, and 63-21.
The winner of the Madison-versus-Fairfax game will play in the Dec. 10 state semifinal in the Virginia Beach area against either Western Branch (12-2) or undefeated and high-scoring Freedom of Woodbridge (13-0).
Freedom averages 65.8 points per game. The team scored a season high 112 in one contest.
NOTE: Madison and Fairfax last played during the 2018 regular season, with the Warhawks winning, 41-7, in the second game.