With the wind howling near 40 MPH, blowing snow, and a wind chill of 10 degrees, it would have been impressive to score one time. But the Madison Bulldogs found the endzone three times, and kicked a field goal, in the most challenging weather conditions in recent memory. The most significant event of the game may have been the opening coin toss. Madison won the toss, and chose to kick off with the wind at their backs. West Central punted on their opening drive, the punt traveled 20 yards after a good bounce, and set Madison up at their own 43 yard line. The Bulldogs punted as well, but with the wind at their backs, Trey Smith’s punt traveled 46 yards and set up West Central at their own 10.
After a 9 yard punt Madison took over inside the Trojan 15 yard line, but fumbled on their first play to give it back to West Central. But, unable to punt into the wind, the Trojans turned the ball over on downs at their own 15 yard line, thanks to a pass break up from Logan Albee. That set up the Bulldogs first score, a 9 yard pass from Tyler Tappe to Mason Avery, for a 6-0 lead.
Madison got great field position again two drives later, thanks to a pair of blocked punts by Cody Brown, that set the Bulldogs up at the West Central 23. Trey Smith found the end zone from a yard out, and added a 2-point conversion run, to put Madison up 14-0.
West Central found the endzone on the next Madison drive. Tappe’s pass to Mason Avery was picked off after Avery appeared to cut the route short. Carson Wittrock returned the pick 45 yards to make the score 14-6.
In the 3rd quarter, the Bulldogs again elected to kick with the wind, and it paid off. Madison took over with a short field and Trey Smith knocked through a 30 yard field goal for a 17-6 lead. West Central’s next drive ended with a fumble forced by Cody Brown, and recovered by Carter Berghiem. On the following drive, Berghiem took a pass from Tyler Tappe for a 23 yard score, to put Madison up 23-6.
Madison’s Daniel Swenson forced a fumble on the next Trojan possession, that West Central recovered at their own 1 yard line. The Trojans chose to take a safety, giving Madison a 25-6 lead. While Madison never scored again, their defense continued to play well. Berghiem added an interception, and West Central only found the endzone at the end of the 4th quarter. Madison ran out the clock on the next drive, and picked up their 4th win of the season.
Tappe finished the game 11 of 21, passing for 103 yards with 2 TD’s and 2 interceptions. Bergheim caught 3 passes for 40 yards and score. He also had a pick, a fumble recovery, and 6 tackles. Cody Brown had a game high 14 tackles, 2 punt blocks, and a forced fumble. Swenson added 11 tackles, and Zach Whitlock 8, with an interception as well.
Madison ran 31 times for just 12 yards in the game. West Central did not fare much better, with 43 carries for 81 yards. Cooper Maras had 53 of those yards with a touchdown.
Madison will host Lennox next Friday, while the Trojans, now 3-4, will host Dell Rapids