Brentsville, playing in the Virginia A Region B Division 2 championship for the first time in Mike Madison's eight-year tenure as head coach, hung in with playoff perennial Madison County for three quarters. The fourth period was all Madison, however, as the Mountaineers wore down the visiting Tigers, 27-12.
Madison--which was making its 20th appearance in the region final--went into the fourth quarter tied 6-6 with the Tigers (8-4). But the Mountaineers (9-3) got touchdowns from the school's all-time leading rusher and receiver and rattled off 21 fourth-quarter points to defeat the Tigers in a hard-hitting game.
Madison took the lead with 9 minutes 27 seconds left when senior running back Raymond Kirkley (225 yards rushing) ran 67 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown, surpassing the 5,000-yard mark. Less than two minutes later, Madison senior Juan Brown--the school's all-time receiving leader--caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Mark Gordon to give the Mountaineers a 20-6 lead.
"Both teams went out and got after it, and that's how football should be played," said Madison Coach Eddie Dean, who is in his 33rd year at the school. "You've got to give Brentsville credit. They played hard and had the opportunity to win. But I'm real pleased with my kids. They hung in there, too."
Neither team got going in the first quarter, as the offenses combined for just two first downs and six punts.
Madison struck first in the second quarter, when a third-and-goal pass interference call against Brentsville resulted in the first of Kirkley's touchdown runs, a five-yarder with 5:39 remaining. The extra point failed, and Madison held a 6-0 lead.
Brentsville responded late in the second quarter. After an interception was called back because of a roughing-the-passer penalty, junior quarterback Chris Jenkins connected with senior Rodney Ross on a high floating pass into the left corner of the end zone. The extra point sailed wide right, and the score remained tied at halftime.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Madison's ground attack took its toll on Brentsville's defense, which features six two-way players.
Brown put the game away, returning a Ross fumble 19 yards with 3:43 left.
But as has been typical for Brentsville all season, the Tigers refused to quit. With 1:44 remaining, Jenkins rolled out and connected with Ross for a 68-yard touchdown.
"The fumble, I had to make up for the fumble," said Ross, who finished with 111 yards receiving. "We never give up. It doesn't matter if there is 30 seconds left, we never give up. . . . But this is a tough way to end the season."
This season was an unexpected success for Brentsville. The Tigers finished 3-7 last season, and few would have expected them to be playing for a berth in the Virginia A semifinals.
"It's tough to see the kids like this and want to have good thoughts," Mike Madison said. "But I have good thoughts for the kids. . . . It was a great job on the part of the kids [this season]. The kids did a heck of a job."
Brentsville (8-4) 0 6 0 6--12
Madison County (9-3) 0 6 0 21--27
MC--Kirkley 5 run (kick failed)
B--Ross 33 pass from Jenkins (kick failed)
MC--Kirkley 67 run (Settle kick)
MC--Brown 52 pass from Gordon (Settle kick)
MC--Brown 19 fumble return (Settle kick)
B--Ross 68 pass from Jenkins (run failed)
RUSHING--Brentsville: Thomas 17-78, Jenkins 4-6, Croushorn 7-17, Faith 3-14; Madison County: Kirkley 24-225.
PASSING--Brentsville: Jenkins 4-14-0 111; Madison County: Gordon 6-15-0 116.
RECEIVING--Brentsville: Ross 4-111; Madison County: Brown 6-116.