They started slowly, not scoring in the first quarter. Yet by game’s end, the host Madison Warhawks had put plenty of points on the board, to the tune of five touchdowns, in a lopsided victory over the Herndon Hornets in a semifinal game of the 6D North Region high-school football tournament.
Second-seeded Madison (11-1) won 37-7 over fifth seed Herndon (8-4) the night of Nov. 17 to reach to region final, and will be the favorites to win a fourth straight championship.
The Warhawks will host the No. 6 seed Westfield Bulldogs (9-3) in that title showdown at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25. In a regular season meeting between the Concorde District rivals, Madison rallied to defeat host Westfield, 28-24.
Against Herndon, after a scoreless first quarter, Madison took an 8-0 second-period lead on a touchdown run by quarterback Cael Yates, followed by a Quincy Dewispelaere to Matthew Weiler two-point conversion pass. The Warhawks led 8-0 at halftime.
Madison added three third-quarter TDs, two by runningback Dominic Knicely on runs of one and 22 yards and Darren Knicely made a nice catch on a 21-yard scoring pass from Yates. Dominic Knicely also ran for a two-point conversion and Danika Pfleghardt kicked two extra points.
In the fourth, Dominic Knicely found the end zone on a 24-yard run and Pfleghardt converted to close the scoring.
Knicely ran for 214 yards on 26 carries, giving him 960 yards for the season and 17 rushing touchdowns. Cole DeSimone had 38 yards rushing and Yates 25.
Yates was 7 of 10 passing for 65 yards.
Cord Yates caught four passes for 25 yards, Darren Knicely two for 31 and Tyler Heinzelmann one for nine.
Leading the Madison defense in tackles were Dewispelaere, Luke Jarvis, Jack Ambruzs, Charlie Backman and Luke Salvosa.
Westfield and Madison met in the 2018 region final at Westfield, with the Bulldogs winning 17-7 on a rainy Saturday.
In this season’s region final, Madison will take a four-season, 10-game region playoff winning streak into the championship game, with all of those contests played on the Warhawks’ home field.
Those 10 victories have been against nine different opponents (Centreville twice). Madison has not played Westfield during that streak.
In those 10 games, Madison has one shutout, with seven of the opponents scoring just six or seven points. Chantilly scored 14 points, the most against Madison during the streak, in the 2020-21 (COVID season) region final.
Westfield last played in a region final when it won the 2019 title, its fifth in a row.
NOTES: In the program’s history, Madison has played in nine region finals, with five titles, dating back to the year the region-tourney began in 1967. Madison had never won consecutive region titles until its current stretch . . . This season the Warhawks will take a four-game winning streak entering the region championship showdown . . . Madison’s one loss this season was to the Concorde District champion South Lakes Seahawks, 12-7, in a week eight setback. Since that defeat, the Warhawks have bounced back in a big manner offensively by averaging 40 points in their last four games.