District champs set for playoff run

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The Mustangs concluded the 2017 regular season with a 70-0 shellacking of Tarkington on senior night.

Madisonville finished 9-1 overall and a perfect 4-0 in District as they look ahead to Hardin-Jefferson and the first round of the postseason in Splendora.

“I’m glad these seniors went out with a win at home,” said Madisonville head coach Rusty Nail after Friday’s win. “This will be the group that’s remembered for changing the culture here. The program will be good for years to come because of what they put in place.”

The program certainly thrived in the 2017 regular season. The offense was nothing short of dominant on the ground all year and averaged more than 350 yards per game. Madisonville boasted six rushers who averaged more than 5 yards per carry on the ground (with a minimum of at least 40 carries on the season.)

Cornelius Merchant led the bunch behind the offensive line with more than 1,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. All told, the Mustangs averaged an impressive 43.9 points per game under offensive coordinator Russell Urbantke.

The Mustangs allowed just 19.3 points on average to their opponents on the year. This was assisted by three shutouts against Teague, Royal and now Tarkington. The defense averaged over two sacks and two turnovers a game with 11 interceptions and 12 recovered fumbles.

Defensive back Marcus Dorman led the team by far with 78 tackles. Defensive tackle Chris Scott dominated the push up front and led the team with 11 tackles in the backfield including seven sacks. All told, Randall Cherry’s unit sacked the opposing quarterback 25 times.

With the regular season officially in the rearview, it’s time for the Mustangs to try and turn their magical season into postseason success. They will welcome some new names to the squad up from junior varsity in order to give the best look possible in practice as well as add depth to an experienced roster.

Madisonville will travel to Splendora for a neutral site battle with the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks in the opening round of the Bi-District playoffs. The Hawks toppled Hamshire-Fannett 50-32 at home on Friday night in order to qualify for the contest. Before the win, the Hawks were on a 5-game losing streak.

“This is a balanced team offensively as well as athletic with good overall team speed and a couple of burners on the edge,” said Nail on his first round opponent. “We hope to continue our dominance in the rushing game and mix in some passes. We must avoid penalties and turnovers.”

The Mustangs and Hawks will play begin their aspirations for State tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. at Splendora High School.

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