MADISON The last time Madison lost two games in a row and dropped below the .500 mark was back in 2008. That was Madison coach Chris Kubik’s second year as coach of the Dodgers, who finished 3-7.
Kubik and his players showed no desire to go back in time and allow history to repeat itself Friday night against Dover, as Madison broke the two-game losing streak with a 42-19 victory.
The victory removed a sour taste in the players’ mouths after last week’s 42-41 loss to Butler, which was the most points a Dodgers team has given up since a 49-14 loss to DePaul in 2008.
Sloppy play by Madison (2-2) in the opening minutes of the game as Dover jumped out to a 6-0 lead.
Defensive lineman Scott MacLean got Dover (1-3) started by recovering a fumble by Madison’s Joe Mobley at the Madison 42-yard line. A Madison offside penalty on fourth down extended the drive, and Dover capitalized two plays later when quarterback Adrian Vargas ran 32 yards untouched up the middle for a 6-0 lead.
On the next possession, Dodgers running back Dom Luppino was stopped short of a first down by Dover’s Eric Schmidt and Masyn Sanchez at the Dover 25-yard line. Two runs by Sanchez gained 20 yards. Dover running back Dwayne Brown, playing despite an injured shoulder, took a handoff and, running behind the block of center Ryan Bixler, went 53 yards up the middle to give Dover a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Luppino got Madison (2-2) on the board in the second quarter when he capped an eight-play, 72-yard drive with a 4-yard run.
With Dover driving deep into Madison territory, Madison’s Mike Dalena intercepted a Vargas pass and returned it to the Madison 18 with three minutes left in the second quarter.
The Dodgers’ ground game got into scoring position quickly, and on their only pass attempt of the first half, Dalena teamed up with quarterback Nick Coviello on a 19-yard pass to bring Madison to within a point. Madison then was successful on the two-point conversion and gained its first lead of the evening on a pass from Coviello to Mobley coming out of the backfield with less than a minute left in the quarter.
Madison surprised Dover twice in the second half by going for and recovering two onside kicks, which set up game-breaking scores.
On the opening kickoff of the third quarter, Paul Links recovered the onside kick at the Dover 49. Madison marched the ball downfield on seven plays. Zach Shupe scored his first touchdown on the night on a 5-yard run up the middle.
Madison’s second onside kick was recovered by Dalena, again at the Dover 49. Madison used the same formula, keeping the ball on the ground as Luppino, Mobley and Shupe alternated carrying the ball before Shupe took it over the goal line on an 8-yard run to give Madison a 28-13 lead.
The rainy weather made for slippery football and it led to a Dover turnover with no Madison players around. Dover’s Masyn Sanchez took a handoff at the Dover 24 and went through Madison’s defensive line untouched. He had a clear field ahead of him to the end zone when the ball popped out and was recovered by Joe Mobley at the Dover 43-yard line. Madison went back to work on offense, and Luppino punched the ball over from the 5 at the beginning of the fourth quarter for his second touchdown of the night.
The Dodgers offensive line, led by center Shane Horn and guards Santiago Arango and Chris Rabel, continued to drive Dover’s defensive line backwards paving the way for Shupe’s third touchdown.
D–Adrian Vargas 32 run (kick failed)
D–Dwayne Brown 53 run (Cristian Martinez kick)
M–Dom Luppino 4 run (kick failed)
M–Mike Dalena 19 pass from Nick Coviello. (Joe Mobley pass from Nick Coviello)
M–Zach Shupe 5 run (Issac Zapata kick)
M–Shupe 8 run (Zapata kick)
D–Jardy Mendez 65 run (kick failed)
M–Luppino 5 run (kick failed) 34-19
M–Shupe 4 run (Mobley run)
Team records — Madison 2-2, Dover 1-3