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FairfaxMadison wins region football tourney semifinal

Madison wins region football tourney semifinal

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It’s a familiar spot for the Madison Warhawks.

For their third straight season, the two-time defending champion will host the 6D North Region tournament football championship game, this fall at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 in Vienna against the Centreville Wildcats. The Concorde District high-school rivals met during the regular season, with Madison winning 21-18.

Madison is the top seed in the region tourney and Centreville the second. The region final will be a rematch of last season’s title game, won by Madison, 35-7, for its fourth region crown in program history.

The top-seed Warhawks (9-3) reached the region final by defeating the visiting Yorktown Patriots, 21-7, in a region semifinal Nov. 18. The victory was Madison’s ninth in a row this fall and avenged a 14-11 regular-season loss to Yorktown, which was the team’s last setback.

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Against fifth-seed Yorktown, the running of Angelo Jreige (133 yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns) and the accurate passing of quarterback Mac Lewis (6 of 9 for 82 yards) led the Madison offense, which scored its three touchdowns in the first half.

The scoring drives covered 50 yards in 11 plays in the first quarter, capped by a one-yard Lewis run, and marches of 60 and 65 after that ended with Jreige scoring on short runs of four and three yards. Aguri Hartman kicked three extra points.

Madison had 235 total yards. In contrast, Yorktown gained 168 total yards, far fewer than it amassed in each of the past four winning contests entering the region semifinal.

“Part of our game plan was to run the ball and we did that well,” Madison coach Justin Counts said. “Mac threw well and our defense played hard and didn’t let them make any big plays.”

Yorktown did not score on offense. Its touchdown came on a short first-quarter fumble return, then a point after by Tomas Edmeades tied the game at 7.

“What they have done, winning nine in a row, is something special,” Yorktown coach Bruce Hanson said. “To win that tough district like they did with an undefeated [5-0] record was impressive.”

The semifinal started when Madison’s Dominic Knicely returned the opening kickoff for 52 yards to give the Warhawks good field position. Madison capitalized 11 plays later when Lewis snuck into the endzone from a yard away. He completed three passes on the drive to Nolan Wilbricht, Cord Yates and Darren Knicely.

“It was great to get that kickoff return to start the game that way and set us up,” Counts said.

Lewis completed a deep 39-yard pass to Sonny Endicott to help set up Madison’s second TD. Jreige had multiple carries on all three scoring drives, and Alex Carlson had 17 yards rushing.

Darren Knicely had two catches for 19 yards, and Endicott, Yates, Wilbricht and Dominic Knicely each had one catch.

Opening holes along Madison’s offensive line were linemen Ari Resenberg, Jack Simms, Nolan Farley, Tanner Hall, Blake Snider and tight end/fullback Roger Stone and tight end Wilbricht.

Madison’s defense stopped two fourth-down Yorktown attempts and had three sacks by Eric Anderson, Matthew Remy and Orion Luera. 

Charlie Backman had an interception for Madison, Ian Kenny broke up a pass and Eli Novario had a tackle for a loss.

Kenny, Novario, Luera, Michael Delgado, Jake Green and Luke Jarvis were among leading tacklers.

Yates had a 27-yard punt return.

NOTES: Madison has played in the region-tournament semifinals for seven straight seasons . . . The Warhawks have defeated Centreville nine straight times, including four times in the region playoffs.

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