The Sept. 27 matchup between Madison High and Maranatha Christian Academy proved to be each teams most hotly-contested battle of the regular season. After narrowly winning the first contest 68-58, the Bulldogs erased any lingering doubt Friday evening, defeating the Eagles 52-6 in a three-quarter game.
“It’s funny, because right after we played Maranatha and they scored 58 on us — we didn’t know we’d play them again — but the coaches got together and talked about what we would do differently,” said Madison Head Football Coach Alex McMillian. “We kind of put together two new defenses that we’ve never ran before and that no one’s seen on film. I think it threw them for a loop initially. They have some outstanding football players, so holding that team to only six points is a very good accomplishment.”
Maranatha managed just three downs on the night, failing to pick up its second conversion until a half of football had already been played. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs seemed to move the ball at will, getting chunk play after chunk play from the two-headed rushing attack of junior quarterback Ryan Wolgram and senior running back Nasun Wasson.
Wolgram finished the night with 160 yards on just 12 carries, taking the ball to the endzone himself on two occasions and adding another score through the air. Wasson earned player-of-the-game honors with 210 total yards of offense and four touchdowns on long scoring runs of 28, 24, 42 and 25 yards, respectively.
“We have plenty of great running backs, so there’s lots of rotation,” McMillian said. “The kids accept that, and I think our leading rusher only has 38 carries this season. We want to keep their legs fresh. I just told those guys to find the hole and keep hitting it hard. They’ve done a great job with it all year.”
Despite surrendering two early scores, Maranatha looked to be back in business with a quick, one-play, 28-yard drive to cut its deficit to 14-6 with 4:46 in the first quarter. After another fourteen minutes — and 30-straight points from Madison on only 17 offensive snaps — the Eagles were battling just to see another quarter.
Maranatha succeeded in that goal after recovering a bad snap on what could’ve been the game-winning drive, but failed to show many signs of life after the halftime whistle. Madison would land the final blow after forcing Maranatha’s second straight three-and-out of the third quarter, ending the night on Wassun’s 25-yarder and a two-point run from junior Hunter Engle.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, I challenge the guys to prepare each and every week like it’s a new season,” McMillian said, “It doesn’t matter if we’re playing the best team in the state or the worst, the effort needs to be the same. We’ve adopted that mindset, and our guys just enjoy playing the game of football together. We’re going to continue that type of preparation and just keep rolling one game at a time moving forward.”
Madison (9-0) will travel to Caldwell (6-3) next Friday for a 7 p.m. matchup against the Bluejays.