For a varsity debut, last night was the kind of game a quarterback dreams about.
Chantilly sophomore Austin Decker threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another at Madison in a 20-14 nondistrict win.
The victory kept the turnaround season going for the Chargers (3-1), who were 0-10 a year ago. Decker, who led a pass-happy freshman squad last year, got the call on Monday when Coach Mike Lalli determined junior Nate Worek could not play because of a separated shoulder.
Decker, whom Lalli described as a "heady" player with a lot of natural throwing ability, went 7 of 9 passing for 153 yards in the first half as Chantilly forged a 20-0 lead. Madison (1-2) scored 14 points in the third quarter and gained a first down at the Chargers 4-yard line with less than four minutes remaining, but Chantilly safety Tyrell Jackson recovered a fumble at the goal line to end the threat. Decker carried on the next six snaps to run out the clock and preserve the win.
"We had a great week of practice and we had a good scouting report," said Decker. "That helped us. And, my line did a great job of blocking for me and my receivers got open. We've been upbeat all season and it feels great. We're gaining a lot of respect around the region."
Decker's first touchdown came on a 45-yard pass to Austin Morris with 1 minute 14 seconds left in the first quarter. He followed that in the second quarter with a one-yard plunge with 8:44 to go, a touchdown set up by his 24-yard pass in traffic to Danny Simms on a fourth-and-five call from the Warhawks 25.
Four minutes later, Decker hit Jon Morgan in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard strike to make it 20-0. Decker's most impressive pass might have been the first one he threw in the second half, hitting Chris Smith in stride on a sideline fly pattern for a 33-yard gain.
Decker "looked good all week. He played with a lot of heart," said Morris (five catches, 106 yards). "We're definitely off on the right foot this season."
Lalli said Decker showed calm down the stretch, particularly when the quarterback called for a sneak on third down from his 6-yard line with less than two minutes to play. The five-yard gain on the run gave Chantilly a first down.
Madison, which scored two late touchdowns last week in a 14-6 win over Fairfax, nearly completed a similar rally last night. Quarterback Warren Anderson, who attempted just one pass in the game, directed the Warhawks' patient running game on their first two drives of the second half. Justin Duncan dove just inside the left goal line pylon for a 12-yard running score to make it 20-7 and Anderson repeated the trick on the next drive, scoring at the right pylon.
After a pair of sacks ended Chantilly's next drive, the Warhawks moved from their own 39 to the 1 before the costly fumble, their third turnover in the game.
Aaron Lambert led Madison's ground game with 114 yards on 12 carries and Ranyer Bravo gained 109 yards, including 87 yards in the second half.