MADISON — Last week, the Madison Area Memorial High School football team earned its first playoff win in a generation. Now, the Bulldogs have a playoff win streak.

Big plays on special teams and defense were the keys for Madison on Friday night, as it took a 28-14 win over Winthrop/Monmouth in the Class D South semifinals. No. 2 Madison, now 9-1, will play at top-seeded Wells (10-0) in the regional final. It will be Madison’s first regional final game since 1994.

“It’s very exciting,” Madison quarterback/corner back Evan Bess said. “Madison football is on the upswing.”

No. 6 Winthrop/Monmouth ends the season at 5-5.

The Bulldogs broke up six Rambler passes, and linebacker Lucas Murray had a third quarter interception.

“They like to attack seams. They like to attack flats,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said of Winthrop/Monmouth’s passing game. “So we kind of switched to a Cover 2 this week and the guys did a heck of a job. They beat us on a couple. We took some chances with some inside blitzes.”


Madison’s only touchdown of the second half came on defense, when Sean Whalen scooped up a fumble and went 13 yards for a score, giving the Bulldogs a 28-6 lead with 8:05 left in the third quarter.

Madison’s first touchdown came late in the first quarter, and was set up by a 50-yard Whalen punt return. After Evan Bess ran 4 yards on first down, he connected with Jacob Meader on a 10-yard touchdown pass on second down, giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.

Another long Whalen punt return, this time for 25 yards, started the Bulldogs’ next possession at the Ramblers 25. On the fourth play of the drive, Whalen ran 13 yards up the middle for a score and a 14-0 lead.

The Ramblers answered with their best drive of the half, an eight-play, 68-yard march that ended when Cam Gaghan scored on a 3-yard run. It took Madison just three plays to respond, when Whalen went 49 yards for a 20-6 lead.

The Ramblers scored with 4:50 left in the game when Keegan Choate went four yards on a QB on a keeper.

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