MADISON — Nokomis Regional High School head football coach Matt O’Connell accepted congratulations from dozens of fans after Friday night’s game. That’s what happens when you earn your first win at a school.
That the Warriors victory came with a touchdown in the final minute only made the 21-14 win at Madison more exciting for Nokomis and its fans.
Nokomis is 1-2, while Madison is 0-3.
“We needed everybody on the field. It was a total team effort,” O’Connell said. “The sideline was great. The fans were great.”
Tied at 14, Nokomis scored the winning touchdown with 36.5 seconds left, when quarterback Dominic Erickson hit Ray Girroir with a 17-yard fade pass in the left corner of the end zone.
“I just wanted to make the whole team be proud of me. I just wanted them to know I would step up for them,” Girroir said.
The touchdown came one play after Madison fumbled the ball at its own 20. Nokomis defensive lineman Rusty Wilson recovered the ball.
The winning score also gave Girroir a bit of redemption. Two plays earlier, Girroir had run the wrong route on a fourth and 6 play from the Madison 31. Erickson’s pass was intercepted at the Bulldog 10, and the turnover ended an 8 minute, 25 second drive.
“(Girroir) drives me crazy at times, but he’s got a lot of talent. We believe in him. He’s a work in progress, but he has a real high ceiling. When it matters the most, he makes a big play,” O’Connell said.
Madison took a 7-0 lead with 43 seconds left in the first quarter, when quarterback Cody Soucier broke a 98-yard touchdown run. It was the only big gain on the ground all night for the Bulldogs. While Soucier finished with 106 yards rushing on 10 carries, the rest of Madison’s runners gained minus five yards.
“The bottom line is, I think we just weren’t prepared. We came out early and had a little bit of success. We had that big play, then I don’t know if we moved the ball 20 yards in two quarters. We just weren’t controlling the line of scrimmage,” Madison head coach Scott Franzose said.
Nokomis scored on Noah Kershner’s 3-yard run with 8:02 left in the second quarter. The 2-point conversion pass failed, and Madison led 7-6 at halftime.
Dylan Thibodeau scored on a 2-yard run with 4:58 to play in the third quarter, and added the conversion rush to give Nokomis a 14-7 lead.
Madison answered with a six play, 58-yard scoring drive, capped by Soucier’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hayden with 9:21 left in the game.
Kershner ran for 48 yards for Nokomis, while Erickson had 42 yards rushing and 167 yards passing. Jake Winslow caught six passes for 53 yards for the Warriors.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242