The Mohawks have only been seriously challenged once this season (in a 24-16 win at Valley View in Week 3). Asked if he’s hoping that somebody will give his team a competitive game sometime soon, Madison coach Steve Poff said he doesn’t worry much about the opponents or how good they are.
“We’re preparing every single week regardless of what that score looks like,” Poff said. “We’re going to do our very best not to look past anybody. Whoever people say should challenge us or not challenge us, we’re still doing the same thing every week. We’re concentrating on ourselves.”
What remains in Madison’s regular season is a pair of home games, against Monroe in Week 9 and Waynesville in Week 10.
Northridge (4-4, 2-2) is on the upswing and seeking its first winning record since 1998, yet it was very clear right from the start Friday that the Polar Bears didn’t have the game to compete with the Mohawks. The hosts rushed for minus-9 yards.
“They probably had some matchup issues. The rain probably hurt them worse than it hurt us because you can’t deny their athleticism,” Poff said. “I thought we played well on defense. We came up and tackled well in space, and our D-line kept things moving from sideline to sideline. We didn’t have as many sacks as we normally do, but we played team football.”
Mason Whiteman’s 32-yard interception return for a touchdown got the Mohawks’ party started in the opening 50 seconds. He accounted for three TDs in the first quarter, running for a score and hitting Jake Phelps for a 44-yard touchdown.
Madison led 36-0 at the break. The running clock was in effect the entire second half at Northridge Stadium.
“We knew they’d be really tough, but we didn’t help the cause by giving them the ball inside the 25 several times in the first half,” Polar Bears coach Bob Smith said. “An interception for a touchdown, then a couple blocked punts … I think it just took the wind out of our kids. Then of course you get the running clock and it’s over. It was all like a blur.”
Said Poff, “Football’s an easy game if you’re playing on a short field. I feel like we played really well on special teams tonight.”
Whiteman, a senior quarterback and cornerback, sparked his team on defense first by picking off a Mason Hardin pass and sprinting for a touchdown.
“Coach Poff at the beginning of the game said that we looked a little flat on the field, so we needed a big play,” Whiteman said. “They ran a slip screen and the quarterback threw it a little high and the receiver tipped it a little bit, just enough for me to get under it. Then it was a free ride home.”
Cameron Cooke and Logan Gibson added scoring runs for the Mohawks. Cameron Svarda gained 81 yards on 12 rushes, Phelps had an interception and Chanler McCullough added a fumble recovery.
Crim tallied three straight Madison touchdowns on runs of 14, 29 and 16 yards.
“There’s no weak part of our offensive line. They’re so great,” Crim said. “Give credit to the O-line and Jake Phelps and Cameron Svarda. Without them, I couldn’t get anything going.”
Whiteman also credited the O-line for the role it played in his two offensive touchdowns. “They were getting the protection on the pass and basically being the brute force up the middle on that quarterback sneak,” he said.
Hardin completed 9-of-21 passes for 54 yards and Riley Holmes was 1-of-4 for 27 yards for Northridge. Twon Hines had seven carries for a team-high 20 yards and recovered a fumble.
Smith said his crew will continue to work hard in its pursuit of a winning record. The Polar Bears travel to Waynesville next Friday and host Preble Shawnee in Week 10.
“We’ll keep plugging away,” Smith said. “They’re still great kids. They’re still working hard. They just ran into a buzz saw tonight. I wish Madison luck and hope they go all the way. Their (all-senior) defensive front was the real deal. I’m not sorry to see them go, to be honest with you. I’m sure there’s other people that feel the same way.”
M: Mason Whiteman 32 interception return (Cameron Svarda run)
M: Jake Phelps 44 pass from Whiteman (P.J. Schenck pass from Whiteman)
M: Whiteman 1 run (Run failed)
M: Evan Crim 14 run (Svarda run)
M: Crim 29 run (Run failed)
M: Crim 16 run (Run failed)
M: Cameron Cooke 7 run (Run failed)
M: Logan Gibson 1 run (Gavin Turner run)