MADISON – When No. 9 Hokes Bluff needed a big play, senior quarterback Landon Johnson came through in the Eagles’ 12-10 win over Madison Academy in the first round of the Class 4A high school football playoffs Friday.

Sean Dorney kicked a 36-yard field goal to trim Madison Academy’s deficit to 6-3 with under eight minutes to play. Hokes Bluff hadn’t been able to move the ball much in the second half and was having some issues getting the snap from the center to Johnson smoothly at times.

After two Darrian Meads runs, Johnson faked the hand-off to Meads and rolled out to his left and beat the Mustangs’ defense 63 yards to the end zone. The score extended the Eagles’ lead to 12-3 with 6:43 left. Coach Mike Robertson elected to fake the extra point, but Johnson’s throw to the open receiver fell short.

Madison Academy answered back with an 11 play, 95-yard touchdown drive. Jaylin Brackett capped the series with his 2-yard run, and Dorney’s extra point cut Hokes Bluff’s lead to two with 2:52 left.

The Mustangs went for an onside kick with all their timeouts remaining, and Meads covered after it was bobbled by Peyton Moore at the 50. The rest of the game featured a heavy dose of Meads, as the sophomore running back muscled out one first down to help melt the clock down to eight seconds before the Eagles had to punt. Madison Academy was tackled on the return as time expired to help Hokes Bluff advance to the second round. The win for Hokes Bluff came after Madison Academy eliminated the Eagles in the semifinals last season.

 

Star of the Night

Johnson had two touchdowns runs — the 63-yarder and a 3-yard score in the first quarter. He also had an interception on defense late in the first half as the Mustangs were at midfield.

 

By the Numbers

10 — First time in 10 years Hokes Bluff made the playoffs in consecutive seasons (2006-07) and the first time Madison Academy lost in the first round in 10 years. … 5 — Madison Academy has made it to the state championship game in five of the last six seasons. … 3 — Madison Academy quarterback Luke Nails tossed three interceptions in the first half. … 2 — Missed field goals (21 and 36 yards) for Dorney. He missed two field goals in the regular season (11 of 13). His season long was 45 yards.

 

Play of the Game

Johnson’s 63-yard touchdown run put Hokes Bluff up by two scores midway through the final quarter, which proved to be enough for the win.

 

They Said It

“Coach Rob called the right play. Our guys executed it, blocked it and I got the touchdown. All credit to them. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to score.

“It feels great to be back in the playoffs and go back to the second round, but we got to look to next week and prepare for it.” — Johnson

“We got to move on from this game. We've just got to work on some stuff and execute.” — Meads

 

Coachspeak

“I try to not let them (talk about redemption), because I don’t want them to get too psyched up worrying about redemption to play in the game. … But, yeah, I thought about it. When the game was over, I turned around to (assistant) coach (Jeff) Noah and I said, ‘We beat Madison Academy after last year.’” — Robertson on last year’s 24-21 semifinal loss against the Mustangs

 

Hokes Bluff Stat Sheet

Levi Taliaferro and Carson Eubanks each had an interception for Hokes Bluff along with Johnson.

 

Up Next

Hokes Bluff (9-2) hosts No. 2 Rogers (11-0) next week in the second round of the playoffs. Rogers beat Haleyville 45-7 in the first round.