FRONT ROYAL – Madison County running back Isiah Smith rushed for 141 yards and one touchdown and threw for another on Friday as the Mountaineers turned back Warren County 26-13 on the road.
The game was the first Bull Run District contest for each team. Madison improved to 1-1, 1-3, while Warren County dropped to 0-1, 1-3.
The Wildcats drove into Mountaineer territory twice in the fourth quarter, but turned the ball over on downs.
“His name is Isiah and he’s special,” said Madison coach Stuart Dean. “He can do a lot of things with the ball in his hands.”
Mountaineer quarterback Chris Smith added 10 carries for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Warren, which was averaging almost 350 yards of total offense per game, tallied only 270 yards on Friday, as senior quarterback Robert Rutherford seemingly decided to go it alone.
Twin brother Joseph Rutherford, who was averaging 7.4 yards per game coming in, carried four times for 13 yards. Robert carried 17 times for just seven yards. The paltry total happened because Jacob Manuel and his Mountaineer defenders sacked the quarterback several times.
Manuel recorded five of the put-downs as Madison gave up just 92 yards on the ground. Robert Rutherford completed 9-of-18 passes for 178 yards and a score.
Sophomore Cody Petitt carried nine times for 32 yards.
“We’ve played four tough games,” Warren coach Steve Crist said. He did not explain whether Joseph or any of the offensive linemen were injured.
It was the Isiah Smith show on Madison’s second possession. The Mountaineer rushed four times for 64 yards on a touchdown drive that carried from Madison’s 18. The running back scored from the 13 for the night’s first tally. The extra point was blocked. It was 6-0 with 5:27 left in the first period.
Warren County answered on the arm of Robert Rutherford and the legs of wide receiver Cameron Ford. Those two combined for screen passes worth 34 yards. Robert Rutherford found David Spangler for the 18-yard touchdown pass followed by Stuart Ashley’s go-ahead kick. Warren led 7-6 with 3:14 to go in the first period.
After four straight punts, Madison coach Dean decided to change things up. He faked a punt from midfield that went for a 35-yard pass from booter Zach Dove to Jamar Turner to the 15. Quarterback Chris Smith carried in for the 11-yard score. The Mountaineer try for two failed. Madison was back on top 12-7 with 4:42 showing in the half.
“The fake punt, it was on me,” said Crist.
Warren countered. The Wildcats got to the 5 on a screen from Robert to Joseph Rutherford. The play carried 29 yards to the Madison 5. After a six-yard loss, Robert found a wide open Brendan McMackin for an 11-yard touchdown throw. Even though the extra-point pass was stopped, the Wildcats carried a 13-12 margin into the halftime locker room.
Madison went ahead in the fourth quarter. Elijah Lewis gathered in a halfback pass from Isiah Smith for 22 yards and the six. The kick was good as the Mountaineers went ahead 19-13 with 11:51 remaining.
The Mountaineers added more after the Wildcats had given the ball up on downs. Using Isiah Smith liberally, the touchdown came when quarterback Chris Smith wheeled up the middle of the field for a 44-yard touchdown run. The point-after was good. The score was 26-13 Madison with 22 left in the game.
Warren drove to the Madison 29, but again turned the ball over on downs.