The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 2, 2013

Madison puts clamps on Riverside

Blue Streak D, Davis’ running lead way as both teams head to the playoffs

Staff Writer

MADISON TOWNSHIP — For the Madison Blue Streaks, the 2013 playoffs started in Week 10, and thanks to a dominating performance, they will continue into Week 11, when the playoffs officially begin.

The Blue Streaks handled Premier Athletic Conference foe Riverside, 28-0, to earn their third-consecutive shutout and share the conference title with the Beavers.

The win also sends Madison to the Division II playoffs, while Riverside (7-3, 6-1) will likely join them, just as a lower seed.

“This was a playoff game for us, for sure,” Madison coach Tim Willis said. “It can’t get any better than this, We beat Riverside and Riverside is a great football team. To play a game like that in Week 10 is what high school football is all about. For us to bring that atmosphere to this community is special to me.

“That’s Friday night lights to me.”

And Madison (8-2, 6-1) won the game by dominating the line of scrimmage.

The Blue Streaks ran the ball 58 times for 240 yards and overall, ran 72 plays to just 38 for Riverside, keeping the Beavers’ potent no-huddle offense on the sidelines.

It all started on the opening drive when Madison ran the ball 13-straight times, covering 72 yards and culminating in a 1-yard touchdown run from Brandon Davis, operating out of the wildcat formation.

The score was the first of three for Davis, who rushed for 151 yards on 33 carries.

“I think first, give credit to their offense,” Riverside coach Dave Bors said. “They did exactly what they wanted to do, they won the toss, they took the ball and they knew they wanted to keep the ball, keep possession totally in their favor and they did. I think we touched the ball three times in the first half and it was only 7-0 in the first half. They did a great job, they really did a good job with that.”

Riverside was able to march to the Madison 11 in the second quarter, but a Maxx Brubaker pass was tipped and intercepted by Jarrad Lasko, ending the threat and allowing the Blue Streaks to maintain a touchdown lead at the half.

While the Beavers felt good about their position at the half, the second half was dominated by Madison.

The Blue Streaks scored on the first three possessions of the second half.

After Riverside again got deep into Madison territory, Jared Yoe intercepted a tipped Brubaker pass and ran 61 yards, setting up a five-play 25-yard drive that culminated in a Connor Nikses 8-yard run.

“We needed to run the football and we have two very good running backs,” Willis said. “Brandon Davis is probably one of the best ones in the area and Connor Nikses is a good change-of-pace guy. He’s thick and powerful, he had a great game, also. (I’m) very proud of what those guys did. Our offensive line moved people, too.”

From there, it was all Davis.

A four-play, 40-yard drive ended in a 31-yard touchdown run out of the wildcat for Davis.

Madison effectively ended any comeback hopes when Davis took a direct snap and scored from 4 yards out with 8:23 remaining in the fourth.

For Davis, winning a conference crown and heading to the playoffs was a feeling he had trouble putting into words.

“I don’t even know yet,” he said. “Like Coach told us all week, it’s been since 2007 when we got to raise one of those banners in our gym and I’m really excited about that and playoffs. That’s where we want to be, not just Week 1 of the playoffs but we want to go all the way.”

Bors said his team’s lack of possession, Madison controlled the ball for more than 31 minutes, wasn’t surprising to him given the way the Blue Streaks ran the ball.

“I’m not shocked. Coming into the game, if you had told me they were able to do that I’d have been a little disappointed, but watching the game I’m not shocked,” he said. “They did a tremendous job, give Coach Willis, Madison, their players and entire staff credit, they did a tremendous job.

“They knocked us down — hard. The thing about it is, we’re still in the playoffs unless 99 things happen tonight, so I’m dying to see how the kids respond... dying to see how the kids respond. This is gonna be good stuff.”

The Madison defense hasn’t allowed any opponent to score since the fourth quarter of a loss to South in Week 6.

“I can’t be more proud of our defense,” Willis said. “Three shutouts in a row going into the playoffs. Hopefully, we’re catching a little snowball action here. we’re going to keep continuing to play. We earned ourselves another week. I’m so excited to play and coach these guys another week because every day is so enjoyable with this football team.”

Davis said the Blue Streaks’ defensive accomplishment was even more impressive, given the opposition.

“They’re a very dangerous offense, they’ve got a great quarterback and Marcus Jones (11 carries, 67 yards) is a great running back,” he said. “Our defense has three shutouts in a row. That doesn’t just happen by accident. My hat’s off to Riverside, they’re a great team. It was fun playing tonight.”

Although they lost Friday night, in the big picture, the Beavers still came out of Friday winners.

They hold a share of the PAC title after going 7-3 for the second-straight year, and will be playing in the Division II playoffs next week, a major improvement over where they were when Bors first took over four years ago.

“It’s awesome, these kids have bought into the program, we’ve come so far,” he said. “I wish I could be telling this story after a win because I’d have more good quotes for you. But it’s awesome. We said give us three to five years, this is Year 4. Last year, we were 7-3 and knocking on it, now we’re 7-3 again, we’ve had a couple more key victories this year.

“It’s really awesome.”