Mustangs hold on in muddy playoff opener
MADISON — It wasn’t the best of playing conditions by any means Friday when Madison Academy hosted Alexandria in the first round of the AHSAA Class 5A playoffs.
The muddy turf forced both teams into running games but, ironically, several rare pass plays determined the outcome.
Alexandria, trailing 18-15, mounted a final drive with less than 6 minutes on the clock. The Valley Cubs (6-5) moved down, grounding out yardage and winding down the clock.
However, they went to the air as time ran short. Aided by a pair of pass interference calls against the Mustangs (10-1), Alexandria found itself on the Madison Academy 12-yard-line. The Valley Cubs, though, made two mistakes – a false start penalty and one for intentional grounding.
They went to the air again with about 20 seconds showing on the clock. This time, Madison Academy defender Evan Craighead picked off the pass at the goal line to preserve the 18-15 win.
The Mustangs will host Central-Clay County on Friday at Milton Frank Stadium – due to the field at Bill Washington Stadium being unplayable.
It looked like the Mustangs had the game wrapped up midway through the fourth quarter when Avery Seaton hit Carson Kennamer on a 60-yard catch-and-run for an 18-15 Madison Academy lead.
The Mustangs struck first on their first play of the game when Luke Nail found Slate Rucker on a 47-yard TD pass. However, the point-after attempt was missed for a 6-0 lead which held through halftime.
Madison Academy ran the count to 12-0 in the third quarter when Josh Malone’s 20-yard touchdown run capped a two-play 65-yard drive. However, the two-point conversion try was unsuccessful.
The Valley Cubs took a 15-12 lead on a pair of touchdowns, including their go-ahead score with just less than 7 minutes left in the game.
But the lead lasted just a few seconds as the Mustangs scored and held on for the win.