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Sports NotebookSports Notebook: Why they win

Sports Notebook: Why they win

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There are many reasons – not just one – the Madison Warhawks have been winning so much in playoff action for three straight seasons. The Warhawks, who have won three Concorde District and 6D North region titles in a row, will play in their second straight Virginia High School League Class 6 state-tournament championship game on Dec. 10.

The team’s three-season playoff record entering that contest is 10-2.

So why so much success?

First, the veteran coaching staff is one of the best, detail oriented with the ability to devise successful and winning game plans on offense and defense. They know how to exploit the weakness of opponents in various areas.

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The talent also is very good, but more so, the Warhawks play as a team. They are not an individual-based squad.

Madison’s old school, smash-mouth physical style of play with a big emphasis on playing tough defense and running and controlling the ball with long punishing scoring drives on offense are other big reasons for success. So many high-school teams now concentrate mostly on wide-open, high-scoring spread offenses, with stingy defense and physical play kind of an afterthought, if even practiced at all.

The philosophy of those teams is if they can score 45 to 60 points per game, and some do, who needs defense.

Problem is, when those teams play Madison and get hit in the mouth right from the start with a strong, swarming, physical and gang-tackle style, they aren’t used to that and often don’t respond well. Maybe even back down. Then on defense, those teams aren’t able to stop Madison’s efficient and throwback – or more traditional – attack.

The Warhawks’ running game often becomes more productive and unstoppable in the second halves of games, when opposing defenses have been pounded on so much, and wear down.

The Warhawks’ playoff record is proof of all of that.

More then anything, Madison takes big pride in its defense. One Warhawks’ assistant coach was heard asking the question during a recent playoff game: “I guess nobody else plays defense anymore?”

Makes one wonder why they don’t, especially considering Madison’s outstanding three-year run of accomplished postseason success.

– Dave Facinoli

dfacinolli@sungazette.net

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