Madison Academy falls in AHSAA Class 5A playoffs
HUNTSVILLE – Madison Academy saw a 16-point first-half lead fall by the wayside Friday night in a 44-19 loss to Central-Clay County in the second round of the AHSAA Class 5A football playoffs.
The Mustangs, a Class 4A school, moved up into Class 5A football with a new AHSAA “competitive balance” rule. The AHSAA evaluates how each private school fared in the previous three years and the most successful ones are required to play one class up than it previously played.
For football, this rule only affected two teams this year – St. Paul’s, who moves from 5A to 6A, and Madison Academy, who moves from 4A to 5A.
Private schools already step up with their students being multiplied by 1.35 to offset potential advantages. Based on straight student population, Madison Academy is a Class 3A school but the multiplier moves the Mustangs to 4A.
Against Central, the Mustangs were worn down by the Vols who will visit top-ranked Etowah in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Madison Academy was forced to punt on its opening possession at the Central 48-yard-line. But the punt was muffed and the Mustangs recovered at the Central-15.
Quarterback Luke Nail put the Mustangs up with a one-yard run and Eli Terrell’s point-after provided the 7-0 lead with 5:15 left in the quarter.
The Mustangs defense forced the Vols to punt on the ensuing possession and took over at midfield.
On the first play, Nail hit Clay Pitsinos on 50-yard touchdown pass and the Mustangs had a 13-0 lead with 3:07 to play.
Madison Academy’s Hunter Schrader recovered a Central fumble on the next series giving the Mustangs the ball at their own 47.
Terrell hit a 24-yard field on the first play of the second quarter to cap the 7-play, 53-yard drive for a 16-0 Mustangs’ lead.
Central scored on its next possession to cut the Madison Academy to 16-8 with 9:10 left in the half.
But the Mustangs countered with a 16-play, 79-yard drive. Terrell hit a 32-yard field goal and the Mustangs led 19-8 with 3:32 to go.
The Vols weren’t to be denied, though, as they marched 69 yards with Quentin Knight scoring the first of his three touchdowns with 18.7 seconds left. Knight also scored the two-point conversion and Central went into the half trailing 19-16.
In the second half, Central (9-3) scored in four straight possessions en route to the 44-19 final.