Madison Academy falls to Leeds 27-24 on last-second field goalPublished 2:07am Saturday, August 23, 2014
By Nick Sellers | Staff Writer
MADISON – ESPN brought its on-air talent, bright lights and arsenal of different camera angles to watch Madison Academy battle Leeds.
The storylines were obvious: The Madison Academy Mustangs were carrying a 25-game win streak with them. They were facing the team they beat last December to claim its second straight state title.
They also boasted the No. 23 overall high school prospect in the nation in Kerryon Johnson.
Though Johnson led all rushers with 203 yards on the ground, the cameras caught a different hero, which was that of Tre Nation, Leeds’ do-it-all offensive weapon.
Nation ran for 148 yards and two scores on the night off of 26 carries. He also took many direct snaps, especially after quarterback TaDarryl Marshall was ejected late in the third quarter after garnering his second unsportsmanlike penalty of the night.
It was all a backdrop for a dramatic 27-yarder Leeds’ Morgan Coston chipped in as the clock turned zero to lift the Green Wave over Madison Academy by a score of 27-24.
“It hurts, but at the same time I know it’s week one,” Johnson said. “We have 14 more weeks, hopefully, to get better and better. We always knew from the start we were going to be a team that gets better as the season gets along, we have a young team.”
Leeds jumped on top early with a Nation rushing touchdown with 5:45 to go in the first quarter. The Green Wave was up 17-3 until only 30 second remained until halftime, when junior running back Malik Miller scored to make it 17-10 going into halftime.
The Mustangs had no answer for Nation, however, as the 5’11, 205-pound bruiser continued to rack up yardage and control the pace of the game.
“He’s a huge running back when he runs the power,” Johnson said of Nation.
A pivotal moment came in the third quarter, when Johnson took a handoff from quarterback Blake Coward and darted along the right sideline for an apparent touchdown. Along the way, however, Johnson jumped over a diving defender, which is a penalty in high school.
Instead of scoring, the penalty set the Mustangs back in regards to field position. Several plays later, Coward was sacked on 4tth and 22 with Madison Academy down 17-10 to turn the ball back over to Leeds.
Miller, who plays linebacker on defense, racked up 40 rushing yards on the ground Friday. Like Johnson, Miller saw the most success when he got the ball in space rather than inside the tackles.
“I feel like it’s hard to pass against,” Johnson remarked about Leeds’ defense. “If you run the ball, they have nine people in the box. If you pass the ball, you have nine people in the box blitzing so it’s hard to get time back there, and I think that was their plan.”
Leeds welcomes Maplewood High School out of Nashville, Tenn. Aug. 29.