Madisonville posted 22 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a two-score deficit and earn their third win in district play over Salado on Senior Night at MHS, 42-41.
“We just kept fighting,” said Madisonville head football coach Rusty Nail. “In the third quarter they had 28 snaps to our four. We did not do much with those four but we came back and hit some big plays. We were just good enough to hold them off at the end and stop them one yard short.”
On a do-or-die fourth and seven with just over a minute to play, the Madisonville defense brought down Salado quarterback Hutton Haire just before he reached the line to gain for a turnover on downs in Mustang territory that would seal the deal. Madisonville’s Marcos Lopez recorded a critical tackle in bounds earlier in the series to keep the pressure on. Lopez also recovered a fumble that led to the tying score in the fourth.
“We played together as a team tonight,” said Lopez. “We all played well and it was great to be out here with my teammates on senior night. Coming back to win this ball game was a hard thing to do but we did it together.”
Tyrese Brown led a fierce charge by the Mustang offense late, but the most critical play may have come immediately after the Eagles scored their last touchdown of the night. Trailing by six after the score, Madisonville’s Marcus Dorman blocked an extra point attempt to allow his team to take their first and final lead with a Uriel Willis touchdown and Mauricio Aceves extra point. Willis also set up the game-winning score with a 45-yard rush to the Salado 5-yard line.
Madisonville trailed by 14 points in the final minutes of the first half, but Brown hit Colby Sheppard in the back of the end zone for a 27-yard score and finished off the very next drive from 21 yards out with his legs to cut the deficit to 1 at the break. Brown ran for three touchdowns on Friday and threw another two in the win.
“This was about overcoming adversity,” said Brown. “We fought and then kept fighting. Our defense came up with some critical stops and we came up big on the offensive end. We had a balanced offense and made things hard for them. I love my teammates, they fought hard.”
Trailing 35-20 in the fourth, the Mustangs needed to strike fast and did just that. Brown found Keyon Johnson down the sideline for a 65-yard score to give some momentum back to the home side after a quiet third.
After the Lopez recovery on the next drive, Brown threw across the field to find Marcus Dorman and convert a critical fourth down. This would lead to a Brown rushing touchdown and successful two-point try to tie the game.
As far as anyone in the program was concerned, this was a must-win game. Madisonville stepped up their aggressiveness on the offensive side of the ball to do everything they could to come out on top.
“We could not be conservative tonight,” said Nail. “If we lost tonight, we would need a lot of help. They fought and I am proud of them. This is what we have been trying to instill for three years and there were flashes of it tonight. We played with purpose and fought, which is all you can ask. If we would have lost I would be just as proud of them.”
Before the game, a total of 46 Madisonville football players, band members and cheerleaders were honored on the field with their families for their last performances at MHS.
The Mustangs (3-2) have just one game remaining on their regular season schedule. They will travel to Lorena to meet the Leopards (3-1) next Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Leopards were idle this week and Madisonville’s bye is scheduled for the final week of the season.