STANFORD - Another Friday night and another stellar performance by Madison Southern running back Damien Harris and his Eagle teammates.
The sophomore speedster, who already has scholarship offers from a handful of major colleges, carried the ball only 12 times Friday night, but he made the most of it, rushing for 229 yards and five touchdowns, including a 75-yard jaunt, as the Eagles soared over Lincoln County 47-19 at Death Valley.
Madison Southern quarterback Adam Simpson was no slouch, either, rolling up 181 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries as the Eagles out-offensed the Patriots 507 yards to 199.
“Any time you’ve got Damien Harris in the backfield you’ve got a shot to score on every play, and he proved that tonight,” Lincoln coach Mike Settles said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t respond to that very well. And (Simpson) does a great job, too.”
“There’s no doubt Madison Southern is really improved, but we had trouble stopping them tonight because we weren’t tackling very well.”
Lincoln’s defensive woes started on the first play of the game, as Simpson eluded the Patriot defense and scooted 65 yards for a touchdown.
“(Simpson) kept the ball on the option that first play, something that they scored on the first play last week on, and our kids just all converged on the dive,” said Settles. “It was just a matter of us doing our job, but we had some missed assignments.”
Madison Southern (4-2, 2-0 Class AAAAA, District 7) earned its lopsided victory with 18 less snaps from the line of scrimmage than Lincoln (3-4, 0-2) thanks to some quick drives. The Eagles scored four of their seven touchdowns on drives of three plays or less, including their second possession.
A short punt set the Eagles up at the Lincoln 39-yard line, then, after being dropped for a 1-yard loss, Harris ran 35 yards to the 5 and followed with his first touchdown to give them a 14-0 lead.
Lincoln got on the scoreboard late in the first period after an 11-play, 71-yard drive. The possession was helped along by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Madison Southern, two first-down runs by Connor Patterson and a first-down carry by Marvin Robinson. Quarterback Justin Hubble finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown to make it 14-6 with 3 minutes, 56 seconds to go in the first period.
Harris used his fleet feet to help Madison Southern cushion its lead to 28-6 midway through the second quarter. He carried the ball four times on an 11-play, 60-yard drive that culminated in his second touchdown, a 1-yard run, then followed with a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the Eagles’ next possession.
“Big plays are so disheartening, especially when they score on the first play,” Settles said.
But Lincoln would recoup from Harris’ long run, scoring with its own big play as Deonte Coulter returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards for a Patriot touchdown.
Lincoln cut further into the Eagles’ lead before halftime, taking its next possession 54 yards to the goal line in 10 plays. Robinson, who led Lincoln with 69 yards rushing on 18 carries, ran for two first downs on the series, and Hubble and Logan Martin also picked up first downs before Martin capped off the drive with a 3-yard run to get within 28-19.
“I really felt like guys like Deonte Coulter played well, and Logan Martin and ... we had several kids play extremely hard tonight,” Settles said.
Madison Southern was driving into Lincoln territory once again just before halftime before Simpson fumbled the ball and Lincoln recovered to end the scoring threat.
“Our kids didn’t quit tonight, the second quarter especially,” Settles said. “We started turning the tables in the second quarter and got some momentum our direction. We started to slow them down offensively and were making plays.”
Lincoln may have slowed Madison Southern in the second quarter, but they couldn’t stop the Eagles.
Harris scored two more touchdowns in the second half, a 7-yard scoring run in the third quarter and a 48-yard touchdown in the fourth. And Simpson, who ran 68 yards on third-and-3 to set up Harris’ third-quarter score, finished the night’s scoring with a 4-yard touchdown on the Eagles final possession.
Coty Russell, who finished with 87 yards rushing for Madison Southern, set up Simpson’s final run with a 69-yard carry.
“I¿felt like we came out ready to play tonight but we didn’t get it done,” Settles said. “We had a good week of practice, and this game was no relection of that, unfortunately. Giving up 47 points is way too much. We’ve got to find a way to get better defensively.
“This is a game and we’ve got to have fun playing, but its more fun when you win, definitely. We’ve just got to find a way to get better.”
Madison Southern 14 14 6 13 — 47
Lincoln County 6 13 0 0 — 19
Madison Southern — Adam Simpson 65 run (Garrison Watts kick), 11:46.
Madison Southern — Damien Harris 5 run (Watts kick), 8:51.
Lincoln — Justin Hubble 1 run (kick failed), 3:56.
Madison Southern — Harris 1 run (Watts kick), 11:51.
Madison Southern — Harris 75 run (Watts kick), 7:35.
Lincoln — Deonte Coulter 81 kickoff return (Boone Baird kick), 7:20.
Lincoln — Logan Martin 3 run (pass failed), 1:10.
Madison Southern — Harris 7 run (pass failed), 2:15.
Madison Southern — Harris 48 run (Watts kick), 9:41.
Madison Southern — Simpson 4 run (Watts kick), 2:08.
First downs 10 15
Rushes-yards 36-507 49-171
Passing 19 28
Total Net Yards 526 199
Comp-Att-Int 2-5-0 3-9-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-65 1-5
RUSHING—Madison Southern, Damien Harris 14-229, Adam Simpson 12-181, Coty Russell 5-87, Casey Dionne 2-5, Wes Procter 2-5. Lincoln, Marvin Robinson 18-69, Justin Hubble 11-38, Logan Martin 14-34, Connor Patterson 5-31, team 1-minus 1.
PASSING—Madison Southern, Simpson 2-5-0-19. Lincoln, Hubble 3-9-0-26.
RECEIVING—Madison Southern, Devante Linville 2-19. Lincoln, Deonte Coulter 1-14, Austin Cress 1-7, Trevor Gaines 1-7.