With the score knotted at 21 and less than five minutes remaining in Friday’s contest between Madison and Fairfax, the plan was for Madison senior quarterback Mitchell Goddard to start his team’s drive with a simple pass to the tight end.
But with several Fairfax defenders barreling toward him, Goddard, in just his second start under center for the injured Dan Powers, was forced to get creative. His 53-yard jump-pass set up Grant Hofmann’s three-yard touchdown run, sealing Madison’s 28-21 comeback win in a Virginia AAA Liberty District game in Vienna.
“I saw the defense start to crash and push me out of the pocket, so I scrambled out to the right and saw Ben Sanford down the right side,” said Goddard, who also plays safety, “so I jumped a little as I threw the ball, like Derek Jeter or Tim Tebow, and it got there.”
Goddard threw for 260 yards and one score, and with the way the game started for Madison (7-1, 5-0), he really had no choice.
Fairfax junior tailback Nick Scott put together a remarkable first quarter, rushing for 162 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries to put the Rebels (5-3, 4-1) up 14-0 early. Meanwhile, the Warhawks sputtered offensively and lost one of their top rushers, Jacob Hall, to a foot injury.
Down 21-7 midway through the second quarter and stuck at Madison’s own 1-yard line, Warhawks Coach Lenny Schultz decided to take his normally run-heavy offense to the air. And in a drive reminiscent of the game-clinching march during last week’s win against South Lakes, Goddard pushed the Warhawks downfield with strikes down the middle and along the sideline before finding Tommy House in the corner of the end zone for a one-yard score.
“That drive was huge because it gave us a lot of momentum going into the half,” Goddard said. “After that, Coach Schultz said we were going to keep passing and we weren’t going to lose this game.”
Goddard backed up his coach’s confidence immediately, connecting with House and Sanford for two long receptions to start the second half before plunging in from one-yard out to tie the game at 21.
On the other side of the ball, Madison’s defense found an answer for Scott, who gained just 11 of his 227 yards after halftime. And each time Fairfax threatened, the Warhawks responded, forcing a fumble in their own end zone and stuffing the Rebels on fourth down to set up Goddard’s decisive drive.
With the win, Madison is now tied with No. 2 Stone Bridge (8-0, 5-0) for the Liberty District lead entering next Friday’s showdown with the Bulldogs at home.