DAYTON – Middletown Madison invaded Northridge and made quick work of the host Polar Bears, 29-6, Friday in an SWBL match up. The Mohawks out gained the Polar Bears 340-153 in total yards en route to handing Northridge its first loss of the season. Both teams are now 3-1.
“Things are going great,” Madison head coach Joel Lauer said. “Our entire community has banded together. They are 100-percent behind us and everyone associated with the team feels great about it. You can feel the adrenaline from our fans and we are excited to have their support.
“Look out! We have the train rolling, now. We are on track to have a winning record this year, and that doesn’t happen very often here at Madison. We are 3-1 and that is the first time in seven or eight years we’ve been able to say that.”
Northridge took the opening kickoff, but after a sack and a couple of procedure penalties it was forced to punt. Fifteen plays and 58 yards later junior quarterback Steve Johnson scored on an option keeper from the two-yard line and it was 6-0.
Johnson would end the night with 59 yards rushing. He added 45 yards on 3-of-8 passing.
The Polar Bears responded to adversity as one would expect an undefeated team to respond. They efficiently moved downfield on a 10-play drive of their own only to see it all come to an end when Corey Knieble intercepted a pass in the red zone.
The opportunistic Mohawks marched 80 yards and Johnson scored his second touchdown of the evening on yet another two-yard keeper to make the score 12-0.
After Madison took the second half kickoff the focus of their offense turned to junior running back Aaron Wesselman. Four carries and 77 yards later the score became 19-0.
Wesselman would finish with 108 yards and a touchdown on 15 bruising carries, but he suffered a right knee injury when he tried to turn up field on a pitch sweep in the fourth quarter and never returned to the game. He seemed to respond well to treatment and looked good after the game. Even so, the coaches cautiously list him as ‘day-to-day.’
Any way you look at it, this game was a far cry from the 51-2 shellacking the Mohawks suffered at the hands of Milton-Union last Friday.
“Special teams hurt us against Milton,” Lauer said. “We only gave up 200 yards or so on defense, but we didn’t get our offense rolling. The truth is that we lost our composure and it cost us. When we were preparing for this game all we talked about was maintaining our composure and staying focused on football rather than the stuff that causes adversity during a game. Tonight we were able to do that and in the end we were able to take care of business.
“I played for Terry Malone at Hamilton Badin and he taught us how to play smash mouth football. Tonight we went after them off tackle and we were very physical. I feel for (Northridge head coach) Bob Smith because he has done such a good job with his team. I’ve been there. He is a fine coach. He deals with a lot of things that other coaches don’t have to deal with and I think he does a great job.
There was no shortage of heroes for the Mohawks.
“Kolby Watkins is a major defensive player for us,” Lauer emphasized. “Our defensive backs – (Matt) Adkins, Knieble, and the rest of them – just played a great game. But really, it was our offensive line that got it done for us and (Ryan) Whisman, and (Marcus) Miller played really well tonight. They made what Johnson and the other offensive backs did possible.”
Lauer singled out Justin Buchanan for his solid play on both sides of the ball.
“I’m a senior leader and a captain and I take my responsibilities seriously,” Buchanan said. “The coach has us checking out (the writings of) Sun-tzu, and I wish I could remember the quote. But the bottom line is that if we play as a team we will win as a team. Tonight we won as a team.”
Said Smith: “They just outplayed us tonight. We muffed the chance on a couple of big plays while Madison was able to capitalize on theirs. We’ll bounce back and we’ll be better next week. This is just a bump in the road. Things didn’t fall our way tonight and they took advantage of what we did. The fact is that Madison outplayed us and they deserved to win.
“We play Carlisle next week and we better be prepared. They are big and physical and we will have to come ready to play.”
Madison faces Lemon-Monroe.
“We have a lot to work on for next week with Lemon-Monroe,” Lauer said. “It’s been on our minds for a long time. They are a good team but so are we. We’re going to try to play smash mouth football just like we did tonight. We’re going to come out with some fighting spirit, maintain our composure, and take care of what we have to take care of.”