Originally published September 21, 2013
Strong defense by Madison not enough in 13-9 loss at Jennings
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 9:00 AM
NORTH VERNON - Jennings County didn't take its first lead until less than two minutes to play but it was enough to power the Panthers to a 13-9 win over Madison Friday in North Vernon.
BIG HIT: Madison’s Hunter Sego (on ground) and Richard Bach converge on Jennings County punter Dakota Bott during a busted play early in Friday’s game. The play eventually led to the Cubs’ first score, but in the end Madison found itself on the wrong end of a 13-9 score. This and other photos can be viewed at www.madisoncourier.com/photos. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Correction - September 24, 2013
A story in Saturday's edition about Madison's football game at Jennings County, incorrectly credited a fumble recovery to Trey Geer that was actually recovered by Tanner Geer.
Jennings, which lost its first four games of the season by an average of nearly 40 points a game, managed just two field goals through the game's first 46 minutes.
But with time running down, the Panthers marched down the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown with just 1:41 left in the game.
That score stood up when Madison was unable to answer and Jennings County escaped with the homecoming win.
"It's disappointing. I talked (to the team) about the scenarios yesterday. I told them, we can't let (Jennings) hang around," Madison coach Patric Morrison said. "If you let them hang around, they're going to take advantage of us. And that's exactly what they did."
Madison's offense struggled all night to move the ball against the stingy Panthers. The Cubs scored all nine of their points in the first quarter and finished with just 182 total yards of offense.
That offensive output ruined what was a strong defensive effort by the Cubs. Jennings finished with 268 total yards but turned the ball over twice and both Madison scores were set up by defensive plays.
"I can't fault the defense. The defense played great," Morrison said. "(Jennings) is going to get a big play if we let them hang around and that's what happened. Our offense for the second week in a row couldn't sustain drives. We've got to fix something and that falls on me as the head coach."
Madison's first two scores came during a bizarre sequence that saw the two teams trade turnovers.
Jennings County (1-4, 1-2 Hoosier Hills) was forced to punt on its opening series but the snap went over punter Dakota Bott's head. Bott jumped on the ball for a 30-yard loss to set up the Cubs on the 9-yard line.
But Madison (2-3, 0-3 HHC) squandered that opportunity three plays later when Matt Cornett intercepted quarterback Kody Boles in the end zone. However, Cornett foolishly attempted to bring the ball out and was tackled on the 2-yard line.
That decision directly resulted in points two plays later when Cub linebacker Curry Morgan drilled the Panthers' Preston Teltow in the end zone for the safety and an early 2-0 lead.
Madison was forced to punt on its next drive but Jennings gave the ball right back when Tanner Geer jumped on a fumble on the Panther 21.
Five plays later Mitchell Sandlin ran the ball in from 1-yard out for the score and a 9-0 Madison lead.
It proved to be the last points the Cubs scored, although Jennings was hardly tearing up the scoreboard either. The Panthers scored their first points on a 30-yard Adrian Kirchner field goal with 5:15 left in the second quarter.
Madison had a chance to go ahead 12-3 with 21 seconds left in the half but Morrison opted to go for it on fourth and three from the Jennings 7-yard line rather than allow Hunter Sego to kick a short field goal. The Cubs were stopped short on the play.
After the game, Morrison was questioning whether he made the right decision.
"If we had kicked it we would have been up nine but we were having success and I thought we had a chance to convert it," Morrison said. "It could have made a difference but who knows? Maybe we lose this game by just one."
Unable to run the ball against the Madison defense, Jennings took to the air in the second half and the move paid dividends. Junior quarterback Conner Byram repeatedly tossed rainbow passes downfield and the tactic was deadly effective as the Panthers began ripping off yards.
Two such passes set up Jennings' second score, a 31-yard field goal by Kirchner to close the gap to 9-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Madison seemed to seal the win on Jennings' next drive when Carson Compton intercepted a Byram pass with just over five minutes to play. But the Cubs could run just five plays before punting the ball back to the Panthers.
Jennings took advantage of the respite and marched right down the field. The crushing blow was a 43-yard catch and run from Byram to Nick Nixon that brought the Panthers down to the 1-yard line. Teltow then scored on the next play to put Jennings ahead 13-9 with 1:41 to play.
The Cubs still had some life. Boles and receiver Jordan Partee connected on three passes to bring Madison to the Jennings 42 with 54 seconds left but the Cubs got no closer. Two incomplete passes ended the Cubs' night.
Byram finished the game 13-for-23 passing with 232 yards. Five of his passes were caught by Nixon, who went over the century mark with 105 yards. That passing attack made up for just a 36-yard rushing night for the Panthers.
Sandlin picked up 80 yards on 30 carries, the first time the Madison senior has failed to go over 100 yards this season. Boles was just 7-of-16 passing for 56 yards, 32 of which came on the Cubs' last drive.
The loss was Madison's third-straight and sent the Cubs under the .500 mark for the first time this season. The schedule doesn't get any easier when Madison travels to New Albany next week before hosting Class 4A No. 1 Columbus East in two weeks.
But despite the setback, Morrison vowed to get his team back on track.
"We'll get back in there on Monday and began working again," Morrison said. "I guarantee you that New Albany is going to get a much better effort from us than we showed tonight."
at North Vernon
JENNINGS CO. 13, MADISON 9
MADISON 9 0 0 0 - 9
JENNINGS CO. 0 3 0 10 - 13
Mad - Safety, 7:12.
Mad - Mitchell Sandlin, 1-yard run (Hunter Sego kick), 0:45.
JC - Adrian Kirchner, 30-yard field goal, 5:15.
JC - Adrian Kirchner, 31-yard field goal, 9:25.
JC - Preston Teltow, 1-yard run (Adrian Kirchner kick), 1:41.
First Downs 12 13
Rushes-Yards 39-126 29-36
Comp-Att-Int 7-16-1 13-23-1
Pass Yards 56 232
Total Yards 182 268
Penalties-Yards 1-5 8-45
Punts-Avg. 5-34.4 2-12.0
Punt Ret.-Yards 1-0 2-8
Kickoff Ret.-Yards 5-103 2-36
Interceptions-Yards 1-0 1-4
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-1
Sacks-Yards 1-5 0-0
RUSHING - Madison, Mitchell Sandlin (30-80, TD); Kyle Tucker (6-31); Kody Boles (3-15). Jennings Co., Preston Teltow (17-62, TD); Dakota Bott (4-7); Nick Nixon (2-3); Conner Byram (4-(-4)); Team (2-(-32)).
PASSING - Madison, Kody Boles (7-16-1, 56 yards). Jennings Co., Conner Byram (13-23-1, 232 yards).
RECEIVING - Madison, Jordan Partee (6-42); Trenton Roark (1-14). Jennings Co., Nick Nixon (5-105); Keegan Beineke (3-73); Dakota Bott *2-22); Preston Teltow (2-3); Phillip Dickman (1-29).
MISSED FIELD GOALS - None.