MADISON — Tootie Carter and the Man Middle School football team secured their second straight Black Diamond Conference championship with Saturday afternoon’s thrilling 28-20 win over the homestanding Madison RedHawks at the Scott High School football field.
Man (8-1) got the game-winner with only 29 seconds left when Pioneers’ quarterback Cameron Simpson fired a 45-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Tyler Grimmett. Seth Chapman then ran in the two-point conversion as Man led by eight.
Madison then ran out of time as the Pioneers won the league title for the second season in a row.
“We played well especially in the second half with our defense,” Coach Carter said. “We were able to shut them out in the second half. We started out fast 14-0, but our defense gave up a couple of big plays there in the first half, but the second half our defense stepped it up a notch.”
Man took the opening kickoff near midfield and drove the ball to pay dirt just six plays later as fullback Chapman bulled in from 1 yard out. Kyle Browning had two big runs to keep the drive alive for the Pioneers. Browning added the two-point conversion run to give Man a 8-0 lead with 5:20 to go in the opening quarter.
Madison then fumbled the ball away to Man on its first possession, giving the Pioneers the ball at the RedHawks’ 41-yard line. Just three plays later, Man would score another touchdown on Chapman’s 3-yard burst. Browning had a 10-yard run and Chapman had a big 28-yard run just before the TD as the Pioneers took a 14-0 advantage with 4:01 showing on opening staza clock.
Madison then got its first points on the next possession as Austin Mitchell broke loose for a 40-yard scamper. The PAT run failed but it was 14-6 with 3:10 left in the first period.
The RedHawks would tie the game up midway in the second quarter as Nathan Ramsey took off for a 70-yard jaunt against the Pioneer defense. Mitchell ran the the two-point conversion to knot the game up at 14-14 with 6:40 to go until halftime.
Man answered with yet another TD — this one coming on a 15-yard sprint to pay dirt by Kyle Browning — to give MMS a 20-14 advantage. The PAT failed with 2:31 left in the first half.
However, Man would be slapped with a big blow as Browning suffered a separated shoulder and would not return to the game. Chapman and Tyler Blair picked up the slack the rest of the way.
The RedHawks battled back and would tie the game up with just 23 seconds left until intermission, driving 60 yards on just five plays, capped off by a 1-yard run by Austin Mithell. The PAT failed as the game stood at 20-20 at the break.
The second half was dominated by the defense as neither team could muster any offense in the third period of play. The score was still 20-20 heading into the fourth.
The Pioneers got a break with 1:28 left in the game as Man stopped Madison on a fourth-and-three play and took over on downs at the MMS 48-yard line.
Chapman ran for 7 yards on first down to the Madison 45.
Simpson threw incomplete on second down, settting up a third-and-three.
The next play, however, was the clincher as Simpson connected with 6-foot-3 Grimmett for the 45-yard score.
The Man defense was then able to hold off the RedHawks and claim the Black Diamond Championship for the second straight year and avenge their only loss of the regular season to Madison.