E.C. Hornets’ playoff run ends with Mavericks
Braedon Robinson (94) and Carlos Mora (66) make a play for Madison’s Justin Jones (15) during the Hornets’ Nov. 18 loss.
East Central 31
EAST CENTRAL -- A strong second-quarter showing gave the Hornets a push heading into halftime of their game with Madison, but in the end, it was the Mavericks who picked up the win, and who will advance into the regional quarterfinals.
Madison struck early and often during the first quarter of play, scoring the first 17 points of the game. The Mavericks’ first 3 points came on a 26-yard Garrett Carlson field goal. Three minutes later, Jalen Privott capped off a Madison drive with a 1-yard touchdown run from scrimmage. In the final seconds of the first quarter, Justin Jones connected with Tharon Davison for an 11-yard passing strike. Carlson added the extra points, and the score was 17-0 heading into the second.
The Hornets began to climb back into the game on their next possession, and junior running back Chris Armstrong scored for East Central as he raced 43 yards for the score. The point-after attempt failed, and the score stood at 17-6.
After a good Hornet defensive stop, the offense went back to work, and Armstrong scored his second touchdown of the game with a 3-yard run from scrimmage. The 2-point conversion was stopped, and Madison held on to a 17-12 advantage.
With just over two minutes to play in the half, and the Hornets backed up to their own 4-yard line, Armstrong electrified the home crowd with a 96-yard touchdown run, giving East Central its first lead of the night at 18-17. The Hornets went for 2 again, but came up short. The defense returned to the field, and held Madison at bay, giving the Hornets a slight edge at the break.
The first points of the second half came on another Carlson field goal, this time from 28 yards out. The Hornets quickly responded, though, and Braedon Robinson did the honors for East Central with a 1-yard run across the goal line. The Hornets continued to struggle with point-after attempts, and the score stood at 24-20 in favor of East Central.
The Hornet celebration turned out to be short-lived, however, as Madison retook the lead seconds later with a Marquis Warford 80-yard touchdown run from scrimmage. Jones and Davison then hooked up for their second passing touchdown of the game, and the Mavericks were on top 34-24.
East Central’s final touchdown of the game came immediately after the Madison score, as Dustin Toscano fielded the ensuing kickoff and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown. Blayne Sells kicked the extra point, and East Central was back to within a field goal.
While the Hornets never stopped fighting, the team from East Central was unable to find the end zone during the final quarter of play. Madison added to its lead in the fourth with a pair of Warford touchdowns, and advanced with a 48-31 victory.
The game was closer than the final score reveals, and that fact was also reflected on the statistics sheet. On paper, the two teams were fairly even, but there were two glaring exceptions. While the Mavericks were penalized just three times for 22 yards, the Hornets drew 12 flags and were marked off for 95 yards. East Central also lost three fumbles during the game, whereas Madison lost only one.
Hornet quarterback Jeremy Jones completed two of his nine passing attempts for 17 yards. Kyle Padalecki caught one pass for 12 yards, and Kyle Ramon caught another for 5 yards.
Armstrong had an incredible night for the Hornets, averaging more than 11 paces per carry en route to a new school record of 353 yards. Latham Walleck ran the ball 11 times for 75 yards, and Caid Frankowiak had seven touches for 36 yards.
While the season may be over for East Central, the team has a great deal of which to be proud. The team finished the year with an overall record of 8-4. The Hornets are the District 28-5A champs, and earned a big bi-district win. The team also set a number of school records.
In addition to Armstrong’s single-game rushing record, which broke the old mark of 347 yards set way back in 1961, the junior back also set a new record against South San, as he averaged 17.6 yards per carry.
As a team, the Hornets set a new record for most rushing yards in a game with 501 yards, and set a new record for season rushing yards at 3,266. East Central scored a total of 426 points this season, which is also a new record.
A few other records were broken along the way, as well. Matthew Coleman set a new record for the longest interception return for a touchdown, as he picked off a pass and returned it from 99 yards away. Blayne Sells set two kicking records, including average yards per punt and average net yards per punt at 50 and 47, respectively. David Clay tied a school record with two blocked kicks.