MADISON — Defensive breakdowns at inopportune times proved costly to Alexandria at rain-soaked Bill Washington Stadium on Friday night.
The Valley Cubs’ season ended with an 18-15 loss to Madison Academy in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. Alexandria marched deep into Mustangs territory in the game’s final minute, but an interception by Evan Craighead with 17 seconds left helped Madison Academy stave off the upset.
Romeo Dye ran for 150 yards on 31 carries as Alexandria rallied from a 12-0 third-quarter deficit. Dye’s 2-yard touchdown run, and the ensuing two-point conversion, gave the Valley Cubs their first lead (15-13) with 6:52 remaining.
That lead turned out to be short-lived, however. The Mustangs (10-1) went ahead for good less than a minute later. Backup quarterback Avery Seaton connected with Carson Kennamer on a 60-yard touchdown pass for an 18-15 advantage at the 5:57 mark.
“We saw some things on film that we thought we could exploit and we didn’t do a good job in the first half,” first-year Alexandria coach Todd Ginn said. “In the second half we thought that we could be more physical than them and we were in the second half. We just gave up too many big plays.”
What to know
—Alexandria, which trailed 6-0 at halftime after Madison Academy scored on a 47-yard touchdown pass on its first offensive play, dominated time of possession in the second half.
—The Valley Cubs held the ball for more than 19 minutes while the Mustangs were limited to only 10 plays and possessed it for just over five minutes after intermission.
—Madison Academy struck quickly to begin the third quarter. Starting quarterback Luke Nall hit Clay Pitsinos on a 43-yard strike deep into Alexandria territory and Josh Malone scored on a 19-yard run on the next play for a 12-0 lead just 25 seconds into the second half. “It’s hard to replicate what they do with your scout team,” Ginn said. “We messed up on their last touchdown and broke down on coverage. We went for the pick and somehow we ran together there.”
—The Valley Cubs finished with 231 rushing yards on 52 attempts. Dye’s first touchdown run midway through the third quarter capped a 12-play Alexandria drive, while his second score finished off a 14-play drive that consumed more than nine minutes off the clock.
—Madison Academy coach Grant Reynolds on the game: “The field conditions were awful; the worst I’ve ever seen. We couldn’t throw the ball like we wanted to. (Alexandria) pounded us in the second half.”
—Alexandria closed out the season at 6-5. Madison Academy, ranked third in the final regular-season poll, continues its quest for the Class 5A title in the second round against Central-Clay County, a 34-8 winner over Corner.