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Mustangs wins state championship

Madison Academy's Blake Coward runs the ball. (Contributed by Take Your Pic Photography)

Madison Academy erased the memory of a runner-up finish last year and on Thursday in Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium, won the schools first state 3A football championship and became the first team from Madison County or Huntsville to win a state football title.

The Mustangs won the football championship in Coach Eric Cohu’s fourth season. The school also has five state titles in basketball.

Led by an unstoppable pair of running backs, the Mustangs started fast, never let up and poured it on late in a dominating 31-7 win over Fayette County.

Madison Academy finished with a 13-2 record going 13-0 against 3A teams. The Mustangs started the season ranked fourth in 3A behind Leeds, Deshler, and Piedmont.

Kerryon Johnson was named MVP of the championship game with 135 yards on 25 carries, two touchdown runs, two interceptions, and one touchdown on an interception return.

“We needed a big game from Kerryon, and he delivered just like he has done all season,” Cohu said. “Our offensive line did a good job of staying on blocks and we made some big plays. We scored a lot of points and all year we have been doing that. ”

Fellow back Malik Miller was equally devastating against Fayette County both on offense and defense. Miller, a freshman, had 121 yards on 14 carries with 105 of the yeards coming in the second half. He crashed in for a touchdown from 6 yards out for the final score of the game with 14 seconds left.

On defense Miller had a sack of Fayette County quarterback Marcellous Redmond that caused a fumble in the fourth quarter and ended any hopes of a comeback La’Markus Martin had 2 quarterback sacks in the game and Garret Lindsey had 1.5 sacks for the Mustangs.

“Two weeks ago I challenged our defense that winning a championship would be about defense. We had a great game against this high scoring Fayette County team,” Cohu said.

Academy drove to a field goal on their first possession. Chandler Trach kicked a 43-yarder, his longest of the season to make it 3-0.

In the second quarter Cohu elected to go for it on a fourth and one from the Fayette County 35 yard line. Johnson burst through the line and was off to the races. Trach’s extra point made it 10-0.

On Fayette County’s next possession, Johnson picked off a long pass and raced 68 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-0.

The Tigers tried to make a game of it with a touchdown late in the second quarter as Redmond scored on a 2-yard run but that would be all the scoring for Fayette County.

In a scoreless third quarter Academy got interceptions from Johnson and Damien Pam to thwart Tiger drives.

Academy was back on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter with a Kerryon Johnson 3-yard run to culminate a 45 yard drive after Garrett Lindsey recovered a fumble.

After a turnover on downs, Cohu emptied the bench and Miller blasted in with the final score.

The frustration and disappointment from last year’s loss to Handley was still fresh on the mind of Cohu as he talked about how the close loss served as motivation through a regular season and playoff run.

“It’s exciting for Madison Academy especially after the heartbreak loss last year on an onside kick. I’m really proud on the guys for representing the school, the city of Madison and Huntsville,” said Cohu, who then received the blue map trophy emblematic of the state football championship.

Eleven seniors played their last game for Madison Academy. Notables include two-way lineman Cole Swearingen, kicker and wide receiver Chandler Trach, and leading receiver Nick Haas.

Look for Madison Academy to be in the running for another state title next season. Returning will be Kerryon Johnson, quarterback Blake Coward, and linebacker and running back Malik Miller.

Photograph added at 10:35 p.m.

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