MADISON — Third-ranked Madison Central faced its second test of the season Friday night against cross-town rival Brandon and the stingy Bulldog defense.
Consider that test aced.
The Jaguars came out swinging and avoided a mid-game lull on the way to a convincing 42-19 win to move to 2-0.
“I thought we played well on both sides of the ball,” Madison Central coach Toby Collums said. “We executed well offensively, and we might have given up a couple of big runs down the stretch, but overall, we played well defensively as well… All in all, it’s a great win for us.”
Just like in last week’s win over West Jones, the Jaguars jumped out to an early lead Friday night.
After the Madison defense forced a quick three-and-out, MC quarterback Vic Sutton hooked up with tight end Blake Gunter for a 56-yard pass that set up a first-and-goal at the Brandon 1-yard line. Sutton kept it on a read play and found pay dirt on the next play to put the Jaguars ahead 7-0 just three minutes into the ballgame.
It took all of nine plays for Madison Central to score on its next possession. The Jaguars converted a 4th-and-2 at the Brandon 28-yard line with a Robert Dumas Jr. run, and scored three plays later on a seven-yard run from Deandre Pullen to take the 14-0 lead.
But just like West Jones did a week ago in the Jungle, Brandon made a comeback.
The Bulldogs responded to Madison’s second touchdown with a 13-play, 78-yard touchdown drive capped by Landon Varnes’ 18-yard touchdown pass to Lester Miller to cut the deficit to 14-7.
Brandon (0-2) got an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and went 36 yards in seven plays to score again. That drive ended with Jarvis Durr’s nine-yard touchdown run, but the two-point play was unsuccessful and left the score 14-13 Madison with 5:58 left in the first half.
It looked like it would stay that way until halftime, but MC put together a masterful touchdown drive after taking over at it’s own 36-yard line with a little more than two minutes left in the half. A personal foul pushed the ball over midfield, and Dumas put together runs of six and seven yards on back-to-back plays to move the Jaguars into the red zone. Sutton finished it with a 12-yard touchdown run that gave the Jaguars a 21-13 lead at the halftime break.
“We had a couple of costly 15-yard penalties on their first touchdown drive,” Collums said. “That’s something we’ve got to get cleaned up. But I was proud of the way our guys responded and we didn’t let it snowball on us there.”
The Jaguars ran the ball at will and scored on the opening possession of the second half — a 15-yard run by Dumas Jr. — to take the commanding 28-13 lead, and never looked back from there.
Brandon cut it to 28-19 with Durr’s second touchdown run of the night with 9:04 left in the game, but the Jaguars turned two late Brandon turnovers into touchdowns and ran away with it.
The Jaguars rushed for 336 yards as a team. Dumas Jr. lead the way with 23 carries for 149 yards and three touchdowns, but Pullen was right behind him with 12 carries for 102 yards and one score.
“It’s a team effort,” Dumas Jr. said. “The linemen told me I was going to have two more touchdowns than I had last week, and we just came out and executed.”
The Jaguars will hit the road for the first time next week, when they travel across the Ross Barnett Reservoir to face Northwest Rankin (0-2).