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Rain washes out Madison’s speed, state title hopes

CARSON – After a section title run fueled by speed and big plays, rain and a physical opponent washed out Madison in the Division III State Bowl. The Warhawks lost 30-14 to the Escalon Cougars on a wet Saturday afternoon at the Home Depot Center.

“The conditions made it tough for us to play our style of football,” said Madison head coach Rick Jackson.

Swamp-like field conditions and a physical, run-first Escalon team proved to be the perfect storm against Madison (12-2). Playing in rain for the first time all season, the Warhawks’ high-octane attack screeched to a halt.

“Obviously the rain took us out of what we wanted to do. That affected the way we played the game,” Jackson said. “It limited our stretching the field – we couldn’t get the ball out there.”

Towards the end of a sloppy first quarter, Madison’s defense came up with the first big play of the game, stopping Escalon (14-1) on a fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line. The Cougars scored on the very next play, however, when Warhawks back Jeremy Hutchison mishandled a shotgun snap and was forced to fall on it in the end zone for a safety.

“Madison wasn’t used to rain and this kind of weather,” said Escalon running back/linebacker Josh Miguel. “They play in San Diego with nice weather and we have been playing in cold, wet weather all year.”

After Escalon extended its lead to with a Miguel six-yard touchdown run, Madison finally broke through with a big play. Quarterback Chase Knox hit receiver Kevon Mitchell on a middle screen and Mitchell took it 40 yards for a touchdown, outrunning the Escalon defense.

“We couldn’t run good routes and we couldn’t use our athleticism in certain situations,” Jackson said. “We still tried, but it didn’t work out.”

In the face of pouring rain as the first half came to a close, Madison wilted with fumbles on consecutive drives that led to a pair of Escalon touchdowns. The second touchdown – a 60-yard pass from Gino Franceschetti to receiver Brandon Shaw – came right after a Hutchison fumble and put Madison in a 23-7 hole at the half.

“The game kind of played into their hands and they capitalized when they had to,” Jackson said. “They scored two touchdowns in the last two minutes and that was a backbreaker.”

Late in the third quarter and still trailing by 16, Madison used a fake punt to move into Escalon territory. But on fourth-and-10 from the Cougars’ 11-yard line, Knox lost his third fumble of the game to end any chance of a Warhawks comeback.

“When we came out, it was coming down hard. I felt the ball and it was a lot different and a lot more slippery, but that was something I had to adjust to,” Knox said.

With time winding down in the fourth quarter, Escalon punctuated its win with a Franceschetti six-yard touchdown run. Madison added a score in the final minute – a 13-yard pass from Knox to tight end Akeem Woodson – that offered little consolation in its 30-14 loss.

“It was wet all over the field but there’s no excuse,” Knox said. “We came out and we didn’t play our best football.”

Coming in averaging 38 points per game, Madison was held to their lowest point total of the season. The Warhawks finished the game with 218 yards and five turnovers in failing to bring home the section’s first Division III state title.

“If everything was equal, I feel like we would be a lot more competitive,” Jackson said.

While Madison sputtered in the inclement weather, Escalon thrived. The Cougars rushed for 216 yards and had the ball for twice as long as the Warhawks.

“We definitely played with a chip on our shoulders,” Miguel said. “We heard we were predicted to lose by three touchdowns and we had a statement to come out and prove tonight. We showed everybody what Escalon football is all about.”

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Comments

mojo54 Dec. 18, 2010 @ 11:30 p.m.

Wow !! What a bunch of excusses. I think both teams played on the same feild with the same conditions. Did'nt Folsom just put up 48 point on the same field while running a pass first type offense? Madison is a awesome team that just got beat today.Escalon was more physical, more disciplined,and blocked and tackled better.Maybe Madison should spend more time on basics and less time on end-zone dances..

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escalon Dec. 19, 2010 @ 10:47 a.m.

“If everything was equal, I feel like we would be a lot more competitive,” Jackson said.

What does that even mean? Is he talking about the weather? If not, what? How does both teams playing in the rain make it unequal? How odd would it sound if Escalon's coach had the same quote if the weather was dry and 80 degrees?

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 19, 2010 @ 12:03 p.m.

The field condiitons were AWFUL!!!!!

The teams with the high powered offenses suffered the most from the wet conditions, except for De La Salle wich scored a whopping 48 points-but it hardly rained at all on their game.

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mojo54 Dec. 19, 2010 @ 12:28 p.m.

How did Folsom put up 48 points with the same conditions? It's alittle sad to hear a Head Coach make so many excusses.

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escalon Dec. 19, 2010 @ 12:35 p.m.

Who cares if the conditions were awful? They were equal. They both played on the same field.

How is it Escalon's fault if Madison always plays in perfect weather? You don't think Escalon would run a different offense if they essentially played in heaven every week? It's an offense based on winter conditions, when championships are played, and winning championships is why kids in Escalon play the game!

Maybe the games need to rotate between the north and south so the south doesn't usually have the 'unequal' advantage of playing in nice conditions! It's football for crying out loud!

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 19, 2010 @ 4:57 p.m.

Who cares if the conditions were awful? They were equal. They both played on the same field.

================= Did I say anything different???

I said the field conditions were awful, and you agreed. Such conditions limit a high powered offense.

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mojo54 Dec. 19, 2010 @ 5:44 p.m.

30 points from Escalon. 48 points from folsom. 48 points from DSL. 40 points from bishop.

All on the same field with the same conditions.

Did NOT seem to limit these high powered offenses.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 19, 2010 @ 9:52 p.m.

Those scores would have been doubled in better conditions!

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escalon Dec. 19, 2010 @ 5:48 p.m.

Not to get too caught up into the minutia of this argument, but I think the weather might limit offenses that lack diversity more than "high powered" offenses. The winning team in 4 of the 5 games scored in the 30's. 3 of those 4 scored in the 40's. Seems like other high powered offenses figured it out.

No disrespect to Madison, but if they lost because they can't run their offense in poor weather it has an obvious fatal flaw and the coaches should consider alternatives for the future.

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