BY MIKE RILEY
It was as if you could hear the ghost of Harry Carey as someone obviously forgot to tell Madison what a trip to the Boneyard was supposed to be like.
The Cubs pulled off the early season upset on Friday as they turned back Charlestown 24-7 at Dutch Reis Field. It was the season opener for both teams.
The loss ended the Pirates’ 16-game regular-season winning streak.
“We got whipped up front. We couldn’t block and we turned the ball over,” Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins said. “When that happens, usually you’ll get beat.”
While Hawkins more than likely expected some growing pains from his totally new offensive unit. What he could not have seen was a Madison squad that came in and totaled 250 yards of offense, compared to just 148 for Charlestown.
And the Pirates defensive squad, high praised in the preseason as it had everyone coming back played well enough to win on some nights, couldn’t on this night overcome three Charlestown turnovers plus the Pirates turned the ball over on downs three times.
“You can’t continually give any team the ball on the 30-35 yard line,” Hawkins said.
The Pirates only offensive excitement of the night came late in the first half when they took the ball on their own 25 yard line,
After Cameron Hopson broke loose for 12 yards and a first down, quarterback Tristan Chester completed five straight passes. First he went for 16 yards to Matt Myers. After that it was five yards to Hopson, two yards to Antonyo Gaddie and then four yards to Hunter Crace for a first down at the Madison 36 with 12 seconds left in the half.
Chester then let one fly to the left corner of the end zone into the hands of Alex Smith for a touchdown. Chris Shanks conversion kick pulled Charlestown to within 14-7. It appeared to build momentum for Charlestown for the second half.
Things got off to a good start as Gaddie returned the second half kickoff to the the 37, but a fumbled pitch on the next play was recovered by the Cubs and the Pirates never threatened afterward.
In his first varsity start, Chester completed 9-of-14 passes for 79 yards and one threw interception. He was sacked twice.
Smith caught two passes for 40 yards, while Myers caught two for 19 yards. On the ground, Myers gained 50 yards on nine carries while Hopson gained 36 yards on eight.
Madison scored in each of the first two quarters, starting with a 43-yard pass from Kody Boles to Jordan Partee. The Pirates felt some extra pain on that one as the play before when Partee was thrown for an eight-yard loss on a reverse to set up third and long.
The Cubs’ second quarter score came on a three-yard run by Mitchell Sandlin, who was the Cubs workhorse as he gained 87 yards on 33 carries. Sandlin added the Cubs’ final score on a two-yard run with 3:05 left after Hunter Sego had built the lead to 17-7 with a 44-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Boles completed 8-of-13 passes for 153 yards with Partee catching 6 passes for 129 yards.
Charlestown will travel to Brownstown Central next Friday for the start of Mid Southern conference play. The Braves beat Mitchell 74-0 in its opener.
“If we expect to challenge Brownstown for a conference championship, we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did tonight,” Hawkins said.
MADISON 24, CHARLESTOWN 7
Madison 7 7 3 7—24
Charlestown 0 7 0 0— 7
M — Jordan Partee 43 pass from Kody Boles (Hunter Sego kick), 5:49.
M — Mitchell Sandlin 3 run (Sego kick), 10:52.
C — Alex Smith 36 pass from Tristan Chester (Chris Shanks kick), :06.
M — Sego 44 field goal, 5:02.
M — Sandlin 2 run (Sego kick). 3:05
Madison: Boles 8-13-153-0.
Charlestown: Chester 9-14-79-1.
Madison: Sandlin 33-87.
Charlestown: Matt Myers 9-50.
Madison: Partee 6-129.
Charlestown: Smith 2-40.