In a battle between two ‘hawks’ it was the ground game that led the way as the Madison Warhawks defeated the South Lakes Seahawks 18-7 on Friday night.

Madison’s offense frequently used off-tackle runs that gained a few yards at a time but, more importantly, drained the play clock. Madison’s opening possession consumed the entire first quarter and was capped off with a 2 point conversion which enabled the host team to take an 8-0 lead. South Lakes was able to respond with a rushing touchdown by James Earl but surrendered a 28-yard field goal to cap off the first half that gave Madison an 11-7 lead at the half.

A technical error with the scoreboard meant time was kept by officials on the field during the entire contest which made things challenging for coaches and players. Madison closed the first half with possession deep in Seahawks’ territory and would have likely attempted another field goal if there was more awareness by the Madison staff about the time remaining. The Seahawks, however, were unable to capitalize on the opportunity once play resumed in the second half.

Technical issues aside, the main culprit on the night were the many unforced errors made by the Seahawks. Specials Teams had two punts blocked, and although they surrendered just 28 yards passing, the defense struggled to stop the Warhawks’ run game. “Collectively, in all phases of the game, we made critical errors, and it is frustrating; many things on the night just seem to compound,” Coach Jason Hescock said. “We had so many chances to get them [Madison] off the field on 3rd down and on special teams those blocked punts just cannot happen.” Offensively, quarterback Joseph Dagbe was 13 of 22 for 164 yards but critical drops in the second half stalled many promising drives including two drops on the goal line. Dagbe was elusive in the pocket during the evening and extended many plays with highlight-reel moves to evade defenders, but the effort was unable to yield results. Hescock added, “You’re looking at a 14 point swing between those two drops and the points they were able to score, the game could have been very different.”

Even with errors taking a gradual toll on the night, the game remained tantalizingly close for South Lakes, but Madison was finally able to put the game out of reach with less than 3 minutes remaining with their second rushing touchdown of the night. South Lakes continued to press as time expired and was able to drive into Madison territory with their hurry-up offense, but four consecutive receiver drops ended hopes of a comeback.

This week South Lakes will host another fierce competitor in Centreville; a team that has claimed victory against the Seahawks the past two seasons. “Tonight we didn’t put our best product on the field, but we were competitive. We didn’t find a way to win but did find a way to compete. Players and coaches need to come in humble on Saturday and review the film and accept the criticism for all of us to get better.”

Tonight, the South Lakes Seahawks (1-1) will host the Centreville Wildcats (1-1), while Madison will play South County in Lorton. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 pm for both games.

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