After a perfect regular season and a 2-0 start to the post season, the Tea Area Titans earned a berth into the State 11A Championship game for the first time in school history. Awaiting them was the defending champions—the Madison Bulldogs.
During the regular season, the Titans handed the Bulldogs their lone loss of the season, coming back from a 25 point deficit. After a rough start to the game, it appeared if the Titans wanted this win they were going to have to come from behind yet again.
Missed opportunities and turnovers, however, were too much for the Titans to overcome this time around and a State Championship trophy was not in the cards as the Bulldogs took the 39-0 victory and the State title.
“Saturday’s game is one that we want to forget,” said Titan head coach Craig Clayberg. “Madison played well and had everything go their way.”
The Titans marched right down the field in the opening drive of the game but two dropped passes failed to get the Titans on the board. Madison scored on the ensuing drive, getting a 71 yard touchdown pass from Josh Giles to game MVP Mason Leighton.
Tea was unable to produce anything on their next possession, forcing them to punt. Madison marched down the field and Giles found Jaxon Janke 31 yards for the score. At this point, Madison led 12-0.
However, the Titan faithful remained hopeful.
With time winding down in the first quarter, the Titans found their way into Madison territory, thanks to two passes from Payton Conrad to Evan Munkvold, one of ten yards and the other of 33 yards.
On the Madison 12 yard line in the second quarter, Conrad received the pressure he had been facing all game and lost the fumble forced by Riley Janke. Jadon Janke recovered and ran it back for the 80 yard score.
The game continued this way, with Madison managing to capitalize on mistakes and the Titans unable to get a break, resulting in their first loss of the season.
“We just couldn’t get going,” said Clayberg. “We needed a big play to shift the momentum of the game, but we couldn’t get one.”
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