By Randy Arrington
MADISON, Sept. 23 — Once again stingy defense kept Page County in the game into the third quarter, until turnovers and a lack of offensive production caught up with them as the Panthers fell to Madison, 27-0, in Bull Run District action on Friday night.
Despite sustaining two drives of 10 plays or more and picking up 11 first downs, Page County only gained 119 yards of offense and did not reach the red zone until the final seconds of the game. The Panthers picked up about 80 yards on the ground from seniors Hayden Plum, Jacob Martz, Gunnar Strickler and Stephon Hawkins.
After sitting out the first quarter, Plum lined up behind center and at running back as Strickler executed a few handoffs. Plum, a three-year starter at quarterback, went 3-for-14 through the air with one interception. He was also sacked three times. Senior Brent Paul Campbell caught all three of Plum’s passes for about 40 receiving yards.
PCHS Athletic Director Bill Simmons would not comment on Plum’s absence in the first quarter. However, the one-quarter benching matched that of LHS senior Brady Jenkins in a road game at Skyline on Friday night. The two seniors were involved in a verbal altercation during the previous week’s rivalry game at Page.
Madison County celebrated homecoming Friday night and three-year starting quarterback Wade Fox showcased skills with his feet and his arm for the large crowd. Fox went 7-for-17 in the passing game, picking up 156 of the Mountaineer’s 258 yards of offense through the air. His two favorite targets — sophomore William Dickey and junior William Acton Jr. — both caught a touchdown pass in the first half.
Acton capped off a nine-play, 64-yard drive on Madison’s first possession with a 13-yard touchdown grab to put the home team up 7-0 midway through the first quarter. Then on fourth-and-three with seven seconds left in the first half, Fox hit Dickey for a 40-yard scoring strike that capped off an eight-play, 70-yard drive to give Madison a 14-0 lead at halftime.
On Page County’s second possession of the second half, Plum fumbled at the Panthers’ 4-yard line giving Madison junior Thomas Backe a perfect opportunity for a “scoop and score,” pushing the Mountaineer lead to 21-0 late in the third quarter.
Madison took only two plays to score on their final possession of the game late in the fourth. Following another Page fumble, Madison took over at the Panther 24-yard-line and immediately completed a 19-yard pass. Junior Demetrius Walker took it into the end zone from five yards out to seal the homecoming victory at 27-0.
With the loss, the Panthers fall to 1-3 and will now host Bath County next Friday, Sept. 30 for their own homecoming.
With the win, Madison now moves to 3-1. After falling to Central 37-0 in their opener, the Mountaineers have now won three in-a-row and will host Parry McCluer in a non-district matchup next Friday.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
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