While the Madison Warhawks used a dominating first half, the McLean Highlanders rallied in the second as the high-school football teams improved to 2-0 with March 5 road victories.
Madison led 21-0 at intermission en route to downing the Oakton Cougars, 27-14, in a Concorde District neighborhood clash dubbed the Outback Steakhouse Bowl. McLean trailed 13-9 in the third period, the game was tied at 16 later in the quarter, then the Highlanders scored three unanswered touchdowns to down the Washington-Liberty Generals, 28-16, in a Liberty District contest.
McLean is 2-0 for the first time since 2014. Madison was last 2-0 in 2018.
Madison overcame a couple of first-half turnovers to build the early lead and limit the Oakton offense to minimal yards for three quarters.
The lead swelled to 27-0 before Oakton scored the game’s final two touchdowns.
Madison quarterback Connor Barry led the offense. He passed for 139 yards and threw two touchdown passes, each to Brendan Wyka for seven and 23 yards. Wyka caught five passes for 58 yards.
John Klein was Madison’s leading rusher with more than 50 yards. Wyka, Angelo Jreige and John Kustra also had positive rushing yards for Madison and Sonny Endicott had a 50-yard catch that set up a touchdown. Connor Sevy booted three extra points.
Madison had 288 total yards, including 149 rushing.
On defense, Madison’s Austin Wycocki made six-and-a-half tackles and Chris Blanda had a 21-yard interception return for a TD late in the first half.
In the second half, Oakton quarterback Nick Toole threw touchdown passes of 39 and 23 yards, with the second going to Shane Rossini. A 48-yard catch by Graham Martin set up the TD pass to Rossini. David Knight caught a couple of passes for Oakton and Spencer Pryslak booted two extra points.
Toole passed for 219 yards.
McLean was led in its win by Ryan Jessar’s all-around performance. He ran for 128 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns; caught eight passes for 41 yards; had 93 more yards in kick returns; and on defense made two tackles with two assists and he intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. In all, Jessar had 262 combined yards.
McLean quarterback Bijan Soltani was 11 of 23 passing for 144 yards and tossed two scoring passes to Jessar and Bryce Molnar (two catches, 71 yards). Calvin Thinley had one catch for 32 yards.
McLean was missing some of its top receivers with COVID issues.
“We knew it would be interesting without them, but we were able to make some adjustments,” McLean coach John Scholla said. “Our guys showed a lot of resolve, and we played well in the second half. Before the game, we talked about not using the receiver situation as an excuse.”
On defense for McLean, Alec Butler had 11 tackles and Andrew Pudleiner, Ethan Dray, Conner Greer, Philippe Kabasele and Nicky Varela made multiple tackles. On special teams, McLean blocked a field goal and Ivan Maric kicked a couple of extra points.
McLean plays at neighborhood Langley on Friday, March 12 at 7 p.m. The teams each have 1-0 district records.