Madison Heights High football downs South Lake in wild game, wins fourth straight division title

Eagles get two late scores to pull out win

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published October 16, 2015


MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Madison junior linebacker Terrance Brown was the man of the hour in the game that decided the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title.

With his team on defense, up 48-42 on St. Clair Shores South Lake, Brown picked off a pass by South Lake junior quarterback Datrell Milling and returned it 39 yards for what would prove to be the game and division title-winning score to put his team up 54-42 with 1:27 left. A two-point conversion made it 56-42.

“I kind of just read the play because they were running it most of the game,” Brown said. “They did it a lot in the first half. I just didn’t make a play then. I made a break on the ball and was able to make a play.”

The win puts Madison at 8-1, 5-0 Silver. South Lake, which suffered its first loss of the season, falls to 7-1, 4-1 Silver.

The division title is the fourth straight for Madison.

Madison junior running back Lance Mitchell, who had a huge night with 306 rushing yards and six total touchdowns, gave his team its first lead at 48-42 on a 5-yard score with 1:45 left. Brown recovered a fumble at the South Lake 17 to give his team the ball back with 2:01 to play to set up the score. The Eagles took over having no timeouts left.

“I just wanted to run hard,” Mitchell said. “The last touchdown felt amazing. It got guys on our team back into the game and it gave us the momentum. This division championship feels good. Hard work pays off.”

Game lives up to its billing
The game featured the two highest-scoring teams in the 36-team MAC.

Madison, averaging 42 points a game entering the contest, struck first as Mitchell scored on a 6-yard run with 4:32 left in the first to put his team up 6-0.

South Lake wasted no time answering, as sophomore Jerodd Vines took a kickoff back 90 yards for a score to tie the game at 6-6 with 4:17 left in the first. The Cavs entered the game averaging 47 points per game.

South Lake’s defense made a big play early on, as senior defensive back Anthony Morgan picked off Madison junior quarterback Romel Taylor to give his team the ball back with 2:52 left in the first. That marked the second turnover of the quarter for Madison, as it lost a fumble with 8:40 left in the frame.

South Lake would capitalize on the Madison miscue, as junior quarterback Datrell Milling hit Morgan, playing wide receiver, on a 38-yard touchdown pass with :01 left in the first. Morgan then caught a pass on a two-point try to put South Lake up 14-6.

Madison punched right back, as Mitchell scored again — this time on a 35-yard scamper — with 10:08 left in the half to pull his team within six at 14-12. Madison’s two-point try failed. Mitchell accounted for all 67 of his team’s yards on the drive.

South Lake failed to convert on fourth-and-goal from the Madison 4. The Cavs defense picked them up, though, and Morgan continued his big night with a pick-six off Taylor, returning it 17 yards for a score to put his team up 21-6 with 4:57 left in the half.

Madison showed the depth of its playbook on its next score. On third and 8, with about 2:30 left in the half, Taylor hit junior wide receiver Darrian Barrett for what would have been a 10-yard gain. Barrett proceeded to lateral the ball to Mitchell, and he ran 25 yards for a score that made it 21-18, South Lake, with 2:11 left in the half. Madison after the touchdown failed to convert a two-point try for the second time in the half.

South Lake extended its lead to 28-18 when Milling on fourth-and-10 found senior wide receiver Darrell Heard on a fade route in the back of the end zone with 22 seconds left in the half.

Madison went three and out to open the second half. South Lake had a drive going, with the ball at the Madison 29, before Milling was picked off by Madison junior safety Ryan Coleman to give his team the ball back with 6:14 left in the third.

Madison went on to score on a 3-yard plunge by junior fullback Ryan Crews with 3:57 left in the third. A successful two-point try cut the South Lake lead to 28-25. Mitchell rushed four times for 58 yards on the drive.

South Lake on the very next possession answered back, as Vines caught a pass from Milling and made a leaping, one-handed grab on a quick slant before taking it in from 9 yards out to put his team up 34-26 with 10:57 left in the game. The key play on the 14-play drive came when Cavs senior running back Jalen Williams, playing upback in a punt formation, took the snap 3 yards on fourth-and-2 to keep the drive alive.

Madison answered back quickly. On the second play of the very next drive, Mitchell took a handoff 66 yards for a score with 10:11 left in the contest. Mitchell then scored on the two-point try to tie the game at 34.

The scoring spree continued when Milling found junior wide receiver Denali Johnson on a play-action pass for a 5-yard score with 8:34 left. A successful two-point try put South Lake up 42-34.

A long kickoff return by Madison junior running back Deandre Williams gave the Eagles the ball at the South Lake 28. Mitchell did the rest, scoring on a 5-yard run with 7:55 left to make it 42-40, South Lake. Madison failed to convert on a two-point try. Then came the wild finish.

Both teams have already secured playoff berths.

South Lake was looking for its first division title since winning the MAC Bronze in 2011.

“We didn’t follow our game plan in the first half,” Madison coach Drake Wilkins said. “We didn’t have an answer for (Vines) in the first half. I knew it’d come down to the wire.

“We’ve made a name for ourselves in the MAC Silver. If you wanna win the division, you have to go through us.”

Milling finished with 224 passing yards and four touchdowns. Vines had 198 all-purpose yards and two scores. Morgan finished with 78 receiving yards and a score to go along with two interceptions, including one for a score.

Madison entered the game allowing 13.1 points per game. South Lake’s defense coming into Week 8 gave up 16.6 points per game.

South Lake ends the regular season against New Haven High at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at South Lake.

Madison Heights High’s regular season finale is against Center Line High at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at home.