By Chris Miles
LONDON — Sporting brand new uniforms, the Madison-Plains football team looked the part of winners in its season-opening tilt with visiting Cedarville.
But the Golden Eagles had to take care of business on the field in order to be winners when the final horn sounded.
A second-half rally helped erase a double-digit second-half deficit and allowed Plains to pull out a thrilling 21-18 victory.
An 11-yard Travis Chaffin scoring run with 4:41 to play gave the home team a 21-18 lead. Cedarville marched the length of the field in the final minutes, but the Golden Eagles came up with a defensive stand to secure the win.
The Eagles inability to make tackles and get their defense off the field in the first half helped create an 18-7 halftime hole.
“In the past, we would’ve quit,” Plains coach Jason Hunt said. “I’m so proud of our guys for staying with it and continuing to play hard. We made a few minor changes at the half and we just kept playing. We shot ourselves in the foot in the first half, but we played really well in the second.”
Routinely Cedarville players were able to break containment, slip free of would-be tacklers and pick up critical first downs, especially in the first half. But those running lanes closed up big time in the second half. The game-winning drive covered 73 yards and ate up nearly 8:00 off the clock.
“We played better and hung in there,” Hunt said. “That drive in the second half was a coming alive drive. Once we took the lead and we had to hang on and we did that.”
The Golden Eagles’ defense rose up early in the second half to set the tone for the rest of the game. They forced a punt after the Indians drove deep into Plains’ territory.
The home team also benefited from an offensive pass interference call on the Indians during the drive which took a 26-yard Cedarville touchdown off the board.
After getting the ball at their own 9-yard line, the Golden Eagles Chaffin ripped off a 44-yard run to move the ball into Cedarville territory.
Quarterback Jake Vallery then threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Mayabb with 4:45 to play in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 18-14 after a Ben Siniff PAT.
Vallery hooked up with Eli Williams on a 7-yard scoring strike in the first half.
(Chris Miles can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.)