Six turnovers, Gladstone spoil MHS homecomeing
Gladiators post 21 points in 49 seconds
Visiting Gladstone forced six Madras turnovers last Friday and scored 21 unanswered points in 49 seconds early in the game to spoil the White Buffalos' homecoming contest.
The Gladiators, who led 7-0, blew the game open near the end of the first quarter with three touchdowns, thanks in large part to three MHS turnovers, and never looked back during a 42-18 Class 4A Tri-Valley Conference football victory.
"Bottom line is you can't turn the ball over six times against a good football team and expect to win," MHS head football coach Rick Wells said. "You can't give a 5-1 Gladstone football team 28 points and think you will win."
Gladstone improved to 2-0 in TVC play, while Madras dropped to 0-2.
"I'm proud of how hard our guys played and we never quit," Wells said. "It was great to see so many fans here and I felt our kids played our guts out for them, but we're sorry we didn't get them a win."
Leading 7-0 with 30 seconds left in the first quarter, Gladstone made the score 14-0 after it recovered a White Buffalo fumble and scored one play later on a 2-yard Nick Hernandez touchdown run. On Madras' ensuing possession, the Gladiators intercepted an Andrew McConnell pass and two plays later Eaman Burrell connected with Jesse Williams for a 31-yard touchdown pass to make the score 21-0 with 11:51 left in the first half.
"It's like getting hit in the stomach," Wells said of Gladstone's scoring flurry. "You get shocked and have to take a breath and realize that wasn't fun."
Gladstone was not done.
On the very next play for Madras, McConnell was intercepted by Tanner Watts, who returned it 20 yards to make the score 28-0 with 11:41 to play in the first half.
"I had a lot of errors," said McConnell, who threw for 250 yards, but had five interceptions. "I'll take the blame for what happened. It's on me."
McConnell finished with five interceptions in the game, but to his credit, Madras had to all but abandon the run due to a tenacious Gladstone run defense.
"We put Andrew in a very tough position and that's not fair to him," Wells said. "He was the first to admit his mistakes and it shows a lot about his maturity."
The White Buffalos did give their faithful something to cheer about in the first half. Senior Ty Whisenhunt forced and recovered the football for a 65-yard touchdown to make the score 28-6 with 10:03 remaining in the first half.
"I was in the pile and saw the ball, so I yanked it out and took off running," Whisenhunt said. "It was really tough on defense (Friday) because it felt like we were on the field the entire game."
Gladstone made the score 35-6 with 1:43 to play in the third quarter on an eight-play drive, following an interception. On Madras' ensuing possession, the Gladiators went up 42-6, returning an interception for a touchdown with 4 seconds left in the third quarter.
McConnell scored a 1-yard touchdown with 8:25 left in the game and tossed to Devin Ceciliani for a 2-yard touchdown with just over five minutes to play in the game.
"I'm proud of these kids and I felt they played extremely hard," Wells said. "I know it's not the score they wanted, but I'm proud of their effort."
Madras dropped its third consecutive game after opening the season 2-0.
"We just have to rebound from it," Madras senior captain Erik Quintana said. "Mental errors, a lot of it has been mental errors."
The White Buffalos visit Estacada (0-6, 0-2 TVC) at 7 p.m. Oct. 13.
"I know we can compete in the Tri-Valley, but we just have not clicked," Quintana said. "I know we can win our final three games, but we have to focus on Estacada."