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SD State Football Championships: 11A - West Central outlasts Madison for 12th state title

Coming into Thursday night's class 11A championship tilt at the Dakota Dome, West

Central and their fans were no strangers to playing title games in that building.

Madison, on the other hand had never played in a championship game before this night,

but had put together their best team in years based upon the passing of quarterback

Jacob Giles and the running of Rush Milne, who had been rolling up the touchdowns

throughout the season. Madison won these teams' first meeting 24-21 on Sept. 27, in game

where Madison's victory was never really in doubt.

But it was West Central that opened the game with the ball, and it did not take long for

Milne to put his footprint on this game, shucking a blocker and tackling Cody Bussell

for a 5-yard loss on the game's second play. West Central wen three-and-out on their

first possession, and Madison ended up doing the same. The Trojans then took the ball

and drove 58 yards before coming up short on a fourth down pass to Cole Tirrel. After a

Madison false start, Giles drew in the West Central pass rush and dumped a checkdown

pass to Milne, who did the rest, breaking a few tackles and going 63 yards for the

game's opening score. Bradyn Gilbert's kick was short, and Madison held a 6-0 lead with

4:35 in the first quarter.

West Central quickly answered that touchdown with one of their own, capping an 8-play,

62 yard drive with a Tirrel strecth play to the left that went for a 25-yard West

Central touchdown. The extra point gave the Trojans a 7-6 lead after the first quarter.

Madison opened up the passing game even more in the second quarter, and also tried to

turn Milne loose on the ground. Madison ended up taking the lead with 10:34 left in the

half when Giles took off with the ball on a designed pass and beat the West Central

defenders to the left pylon, scoring on a 16 yard touchdown run. Giles tacked on the 2

point conversion, and Madison led 14-7.

Madison's defense locked down and held West Central on the next possession, and then

took 11 plays to go 70 yards to open a 14-point lead when Milne scored his second

touchdown of the game on an 8-yard touchdown run through the middle. The extra point was

good, and the Bulldogs held a 21-7 lead with 5:52 before halftime.

West Central did cut that lead in half before halftime when quarterback Noah Matson

threw a backward pass to Jace Hansich, who then threw to Bussell, who was wide open in

the end zone for the 20-yard score. Madison still took a 21-14 lead into halftime, and

had the ball to begin the second half.

West Central's defense came out ready in the second half, throwing most of their defense

at stopping Milne. That worked, and Madison punted, leaving West Central to take the

ball at their own 7 with 6:34 to play in the 3rd. West Central again went three and out

to open the half, and the Bulldogs took over in West Central territory.
The Trojans held

strong though, and got good runs by both Bussell and Cody Miller to move the ball to the

Madison 28 at the end of the third quarter.
The Trojans scored on the second play of the

fourth, a 15 yard touchdown run to Tirrel, which tied the game at 21 with 11:35 to play.

After the teams traded punts, Madison faced fourth down on their own 13, and bailed

themselves out with a successful fake punt, which put the ball on their own 39. Madison

was again going three-and-out, but West Central jumped offside on fourth and six, making

it fourth-and-one. Amazingly, the Trojans stopped Milne short of the first down, and

took the ball at the Madison 48-yard line with 5:01 to play. Both defenses took over

down the stretch, but West Central pushed all in and again hit on the double pass from

Hansich to Bussell for a 39 yard touchdown pass that gave the Trojans a 28-21 lead with

19 seconds left. Madison's last-ditch drive came up short and West Central took their

12th state championship back to Hartford with a 28-21 win. Bussell was named Joe Robbie

Most Outstanding Player with 63 yards rushing and two touchdown receptions for another

59 yards.

SCORE BY QUARTERS     1     2     3     4-FINAL
WEST CENTRAL                7     7     0    14-28
MADISON                           6    15     0      0-21

GAME STATS
RUSHING: WEST CENTRAL: Tirrel 13-90-2TD; Bussell 15-63-0; Matson 10-59-0; Miller 8-39-0.

MADISON: Milne 20-58-1TD; Giles 11-41-1; Hemmer 2-10-0.

PASSING: WEST CENTRAL: Hanisch 2-3-59-2TD-0INT; Matson 7-17-36-0TD-0INT. MADISON: Giles

12-22-234-1TD-1INT.

RECEIVING: WEST CENTRAL: Bussell 2-59-2TD; Hanisch 3-20-0; Tirrel 2-11-0; Siebert 1-6-0;

Johanssen 1-(-1)-0. MADISON: Nordling 7-115-0TD; Milne 2-89-1; Kasuske 1-13-0; Hemmer 1

-10-0; Williams 1-7-0.

Filed Under Football | Varsity Sports