Tea Area reels off stunning victory over Madison

Tea Area reels off stunning victory over Madison

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Tea Area reels off stunning victory over Madison

Madison vs.Tea Area at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Madison vs.Tea Area at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

MADISON — “For three-and-a-half quarters, we were the best team on the field tonight.”

Tea Area football coach Craig Clayberg said that to his team in the postgame huddle after the Titans beat Madison 28-25 on Friday, and the first clause was vital. Without it, the astonishing nature of the win would have been obscured.

Both teams came into the game with 7-0 records, but the Bulldogs were the one widely considered the best squad in Class 11A, coming off a state championship in 2015 and retaining a host of contributors from that group.

“We knew that nobody expected us to win this game, and that made us want it all the much more,” Titans quarterback Payton Conrad said.

Much of the first half seemed to prove those prognosticators right, with Madison taking a 25-0 lead towards the end of the second quarter. Josh Giles found Jaxon Janke and Marcus VandenBosch with touchdown passes of four and two yards in the first quarter, and Jadon Janke ran for 51 and 23-yard touchdowns in the second.

Tea Area, a team playing without starting linebackers Jeremiah Makahununiu and Kendon Rensch, made those the last points the Bulldogs would score in the game.

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“With a team like Madison, if you try to take away the pass, they’re going to run it,” Clayberg said. “If you try to take away the run, they’re going to pass it. So we were kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place there for a while, and we made a couple adjustments at halftime and things worked out.”

The Titans’ fortunes started to turn late in the second quarter, when Conrad lofted a pass to Evan Munkvold towards the right side of the goal line and Munkvold beat Noah Guse in the air for a 26-yard score.

Tea Area recovered a fumble on Madison’s next possession, and the first play of the Titans’ ensuing drive saw Conrad find Munkvold again for a score, this time on a throw over the middle that went for 30 yards.

Tea Area fumbled on the first drive of the second half, but forced a three-and-out from Madison on the next drive and then chewed up 4:56 on its next possession, which ended in Sawyer Schwebach’s one-yard touchdown run.

After Madison punted again and the teams exchanged turnovers on the next two possessions, Tea Area started at the 11-yard line and went on a drive that took up the majority of the third quarter, lasting more than seven minutes on 18 plays and ending on a 10-yard touchdown throw from Conrad to Cade Clayberg.

The Titans had fewer yards of total offense than Madison – 328 to 362 – and took more plays to get that total, but had the ball for almost twice as long as the Bulldogs and had just one penalty to Madison’s eight.

“I don’t know what, exactly, happened to the whole thing,” Bulldogs coach Max Hodgen said. “It was a mess in the second half.”

A late interception by Conrad almost proved deadly, as it gave the Bulldogs the ball with more than a minute to go, but Conrad grabbed a pick of his own three plays later to allow the Titans to kneel the game away.

Tea Area’s record stands at 8-0 after the win. They are one of two undefeated schools in Class 11A, as St. Thomas More got its eighth win against Belle Fourche on Friday night. Madison fell to 7-1 with the loss.

Follow Ian Frazer on Twitter at  @IanMcFrazer .

Madison's Jaxon Janke heads toward the end zone after breaking away from Tea Area's Carter Slykhuis and eluding Payton Conrad at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Madison’s Jaxon Janke heads toward the end zone after breaking away from Tea Area’s Carter Slykhuis and eluding Payton Conrad at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Tea Area's Payton Conrad works to stop Madison's Jadon Janke during their game at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Tea Area’s Payton Conrad works to stop Madison’s Jadon Janke during their game at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Madison's Riley Janke carries the ball while Tea Area's Josh Cooper tries to stop him during their game at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Madison’s Riley Janke carries the ball while Tea Area’s Josh Cooper tries to stop him during their game at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Tea Area's escapes from Madison's Jadon Janke at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Tea Area’s escapes from Madison’s Jadon Janke at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Tea Area defenders swarm Madison's Jadon Janke during their game at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Tea Area defenders swarm Madison’s Jadon Janke during their game at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Madison's Riley Janke heads straight for the end zone to score a touchdown against Tea Area at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Madison’s Riley Janke heads straight for the end zone to score a touchdown against Tea Area at Trojan Field in Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

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