Second-half rally falls short for Bulldogs
By LARRY LEEDS, Sports Editor
A second-half rally by the Madison Bulldogs fell just short against the Harrisburg Tigers on Friday night at Trojan Field. The Tigers held on for a 27-21 Big 8 Conference win.|
It was the first game for both teams.
Kyle Ackerman gave the Tigers the early advantage when he hit paydirt with 3:14 left in the opening period. Ackerman scored on a 24-yard run and with the extra point the Tigers enjoyed a 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs answered late in the first quarter. Madison was forced to punt after the Tigers' score and the punt was muffed. Madison's Brendon Waldner pounced on the ball to set up the Bulldogs with great field position with just over three minutes remaining in the period.
Four plays later, the Bulldogs found the end zone. Rush Milne capped off the drive with a 14-yard run with 11 seconds left in the opening period. With the extra point by Trevor Holbrook, the score was tied at 7-7.
It was all Tigers in the second period. Harrisburg scored 20 points and grabbed a 27-7 halftime lead. Scoring touchdowns for the Tigers in the second period were Ackerman on a 24-yard run, Andrew McCuen on a 26-yard run and Trevor DeSchepper on a 51-yard pass from McCuen.
"We spotted Harrisburg too many points in the first half," said Madison Coach Max Hodgen. "We had alignment and assignment issues. We didn't get lined up exactly like we needed to and were ill prepared to defend the option."
Madison scored twice in the third period. The first score was on a 74-yard pass from Jacob Giles to Waldner with 6:40 left in the quarter; with the extra-point kick, the Bulldogs trailed 27-14.
The last score of the game came with 4:16 left in the third period. Milne scampered four yards for his second score of the contest and with the extra point the Bulldogs trailed 27-21.
"I was very proud of the way we came out after the half," Hodgen said. "We have been talking a lot about confidence and mental toughness, and our athletes sure displayed it in the third and fourth quarters. It is so exciting to be on that rollercoaster when the momentum swings in your favor and you're making that come-from-behind charge."
Neither team scored in the final period.
Madison rolled up 290 total yards, 58 rushing and 232 passing. Milne finished the game with 45 yards rushing on 11 attempts, while Giles had 10 yards on 13 attempts.
Giles was 11 of 27 passing for 232 yards. Waldner caught four passes for 102 yards. Preston Nordling caught four passes for 68 yards. Milne and Isaac Schubert each caught one pass for 20 yards.
Harrisburg had 369 total yards, 223 rushing and 146 passing. McCuen had 103 yards rushing on 12 attempts. McCuen was 7-of-16 passing for 87 yards. DeSchepper caught three passes for 68 yards.
Eli Roemen had 10 unassisted tackles and one assist for the Bulldogs. Waldner had six unassisted tackles. Roemen and Tyler Currey each had one pass interception.
Carson Creel had five unassisted tackles and one assist for the Tigers.
"I was pleased with our second-half effort but disappointed with the loss," Hodgen said. "What really stings is the fact that we blew three opportunities down inside the red zone to tie the game.
"I believe in our ball players and more importantly they believe in themselves. I expect to play four quarters next week against West Central."
Madison will host West Central on Friday at 7 p.m.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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