After losing four of its first five games, Madison found itself floundering as it headed into the heart of its Great Falls District schedule.

But after yesterday's 28-21, come-from-behind homecoming victory over Herndon, the Warhawks are one game from a league title. And the key to the turnaround is no mystery.

"We moved {Chris} Hardy to quarterback and we haven't lost a game since he's been there," said Madison Coach Ned Garber. "You got to do what you got to do. If he's got to play defense and run back punts and kickoffs -- that's what he's got to do."

And that's not all the 5-foot-11, 174-pound senior did. Hardy rushed for 69 yards and passed for 97. He intercepted a pass in the end zone, rushed for two touchdowns and a conversion and passed for a touchdown and conversion in the victory that ties the two teams atop the Great Falls standings at 4-1.

"That Hardy kid is just a heart-and-soul kind of kid," said Herndon Coach Tom Meier. "No matter what the other 10 kids do, he's got to be contained. The kid is just a winner."

But with Madison (5-4 overall) trailing, 21-20, and all eyes on the shifty quarterback, little-known Jeff Cleary ran 13 yards for the decisive touchdown with 5:10 remaining. Cleary, in his second game since being promoted from the junior varsity, fumbled early in the game but finished with 39 yards on four carries.

"I went a little outside and it was open," he said. "I got one block and just scooted into the end zone."

Herndon (5-3) led by 14-12 at the half on the strength of Matt Griffis's seven-of-eight passing for 124 yards, including two touchdown throws to Rustin Evans.

But a Hornets fumble on their 3 led to Hardy's first score. Another turnover with 1:00 left in the half led to Hardy's scoring throw to Omar Patterson.

J.T. Taylor's 30-yard breakaway put Herndon on top, 21-12, early in the third quarter but Hardy answered by directing an eight-play, 79-yard drive to cut the Herndon lead to one after three quarters.