Madison hoped this would be the game to break the Clarke County hex, but when the chips were down the Eagles came to play. In the final game of the regular season, with the district title on the line the Clarke County Eagles rose to the occasion and defeated the Madison County Mountaineers 28- 20. The victory over Madison, plus Manassas Park’s 48-8 win over George Mason means the Bull Run District has a three way tie for the title. More importantly, Clarke County’s win secures a home field advantage for the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs.
Madison won the toss and opened the game with a solid combination of running lead by #22 Ralph Yates and a passing attack between QB #8 Dustin Farmer and #4 Rashad Bolden. The Mountaineers marched down the field in their opening drive punching the ball in on the 9th play of the drive to take the lead 7-0 with with 7:46 left in the first quarter.
As the Eagles took over their first drive they moved the ball well but the Madison defense made a stand on their 27 yard line and held the Eagles on 4th and 9 and recovered the ball on downs.
Two series later the Eagles would break onto the scoreboard with a Grant Shaw touchdown run from the 2 yard line to tie the score at 7-7 with 7:46 left in the half.
Madison’s Ralph Yates started his string of long returns on the next kick off and gave Madison a 1-10 on the Eagle 25 yard line. Special teams would leave the Eagles defending bad field position all night with kicker Matt Moyer making his first of several last man tackles on Yates. Two plays later the Mountaineers capitalized on the long return and took back the lead with Yates’ scoring a second touchdown, this time from the 18 yard line with 6:48 in the half.
The Eagle offense struggled with their next possession and were unable to answer going 3 and out giving Madison the ball back with 4:32 left in the half.
Madison would waste no time adding to the scoreboard going 55 yards in a minute and half to extend their lead. Another Yates touchdown and a blocked PAT put them in the lead 20-7 with 3:03 left to play in the first half.
The Eagles would not go into the half without a fight. Starting their next series from their own 31 a pass to #32 Alex Sefton lead to a bizarre series of penalties. As Sefton ran down field, he was caught from behind and fumbled the ball at the 20 yard line and Madison recovered the ball on the 12 yard line. However the Madison player had left the field of play and was the first to make contact with the ball when he recovered it. The referee threw the flag for Illegal touch. Madison’s coaching staff went ballistic and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and another penalty was assessed. By the time the play was sorted out Clarke had retained the lost fumble and was first and goal on the 4 yard line. Three plays later #1 Grant Shaw would cross the goal for his second touchdown of the night to leave the Eagles trailing by 6 at halftime with the score Madison 20, Clarke 14.
Halftime adjustments and a will to win brought Clarke onto the field in the second half with a storm. On the second play of the half #22 Ron Anderson cut loose on a 60 yard TD run that put the Eagles in the lead for the first time, and there was no going back.
Four turnovers scuttled any hopes Madison had for pulling off a victory against Clarke. #32 Alex Sefton had three interceptions in the second half effectively neutralizing Madison’s passing game. A fumble recovery by #61 Logan Large accounted for the fourth turnover in the second half and the Mountaineers could not mount a comeback.
Clarke scored their final points of the regular season with the fourth Grant Shaw touchdown of the night late in the third quarter and held on to win 28-20.
Clarke finishes their regular season with a 9-1 record and shares the Bull Run District Title with Madison and Manssas Park. Stay tuned for playoff details as they become available.
UPDATE: Region B, Division 2 Semifinal: Clarke County will face Buckingham, Friday, 7:30 pm. Both teams enter this match up at 9-1.