MADISON — When the game was over, the Madison Area Memorial High School football team raised its helmets and sang the school fight song with more joy than it had in years.

At Rudman Field on Friday night, in front of a large Homecoming crowd, the Bulldogs pulled off the biggest win in the state so far this season, knocking off two-time defending Class C state champion Winslow, 28-21.

“We definitely had this game circled since Week 1,” said Madison quarterback Evan Bess, who scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:31 left in the game. “It was a great team effort today.”

The win snapped Winslow’s 25-game win streak and dropped the Black Raiders to 3-1. Madison is now 4-0 and alone in first place in the Big Ten Conference.

“They’re a good team. We knew it was going to be a good game,” Winslow coach Mike Siviski said.

The Bulldogs had the ball inside the Winslow 10-yard line three times in the second half but didn’t capitalize until their final drive of the game. On second and goal, Bess dove into the end zone on a keeper, giving Madison the lead.

“I kept telling the guys, this is all about heart,” Bess said.

Madison’s game-winning drive was helped by two Winslow penalties. A personal foul gave the Bulldogs 15 yards and a first down to the Winslow 15. Later, on fourth and 8 from the 13, a pass interference penalty moved the ball to the 7. Now with fourth and 2, the Bulldogs converted to extend the drive.

“We hurt ourselves with our penalties,” Siviski said. “You can’t give a good team extra chances. They were breathing down our necks the whole last period.”

Winslow had one more chance, and two quick passes got the Black Raiders to the Madison 41. Mitch Jarvis stripped the ball from Winslow quarterback Ryan Gagnon, and the Bulldogs recovered the fumble to seal the win with 37 seconds left.

In the first half, it looked as if Madison would turn this into a rout. The Bulldogs scored on their first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead. Nick Morales started it with a 2-yard touchdown run with 8:38 left in the first quarter. Sean Whalen made it 14-0 with a 13-yard touchdown run with 5:23 left in the first.

Early in the second quarter, Steven Ouellette caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Bess, and the Bulldogs led 21-0. Madison coach Scott Franzose cautioned his team that the game was far from over.

“I knew we weren’t going to win 21-0,” Franzose said.

Kenny Rickard got Winslow on the board with a 6-yard scoring run with 6:54 left in the first half. Gagnon scored on a 1-yard keeper with 1:03 left in the half, and the Black Raiders had cut Madison’s lead to 21-14.

Winslow tied the game on the opening drive of the third quarter, when Gagnon found Dylan Hutchinson for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

When speaking to his team after the game, Franzose told the Bulldogs it was as good a game as he’s ever seen Madison play. Now, he said, the Bulldogs have to put it aside and build off the huge win.

“We’re playing good football. We’re playing as a team,” Franzose said. “We were focused on, it’s just another game.”

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