By DOUG DONNELLY
MADISON – For the first time in 40 years, the Madison Trojans beat Whiteford, 42-24, handing the Bobcats a season-opening setback.
Levi Hillard scored twice, Devon Shaw rushed for 84 yards, Shea Ruddy passed for 65 yards and Clay Speweik caught five passes for 55 yards, but none of it was enough for the Bobcats to keep the streak alive. Whiteford lost four fumbles and had threw an interception.
“Congrats to them,” Whiteford coach Jason Mensing said. “We know they have a senior-laden group. They certainly performed at a high level and deserved that victory.
“We made some mistakes in our side of things. When you put the ball on the turf it usually doesn’t end well.”
Whiteford came out in a new, no-huddle offense and seemed to catch Madison off guard, scoring a touchdown on its second offensive play of the game, a 33-yard scoring run in which Cole Giesige was untouched. But, Madison responded with a long scoring drive to take a 7-6 lead and would never trail again.
“There were some new looks,” Mensing said. “We felt like coming into the game, knowing what they have back and who they have back, we felt like we needed to catch them in some stuff early. Obviously we didn’t sustain that momentum.”
Hillard scored both of his touchdowns in the second half. The Bobcat defense also caused a safety.
Madison finished with 487 yards of total offense, compared to 271 by the Bobcats.
“I thought our kids played really hard for all four quarters,” Mensing said. “The biggest thing is ‘are you competing?’ We have a lot of young players on the field. I thought they played hard and competed. We just didn’t execute at the level you need to win football games. What matters is how much you can grow week to week.”
The Bobcats host Morenci Friday in Week 2 of the season. Morenci started off the season with a 56-12 win over Britton Deerfield.
“This week, this season, this everything is about how much better we can get from today to tomorrow,” Mensing said. “We’ll have a real day-to-day approach with everything we do. As we improve our execution, we’ll improve our performances and become more competitive.”