NATCHITOCHES — Madison Prep coach Landry Williams said he knew his team was ready to win as soon as he got on the bus Wednesday morning.
“I could see it in their eyes,” Williams said. “I was real confident going in. I told them I believe in you.”
Ninth-seeded Madison Prep made believers of plenty of people by dominating No. 2 Union Parish 50-0 in the Class 3A title game that opened the final day of the LHSAA Prep Classic.
The Chargers (10-2) claimed their first LHSAA football title in impressive fashion with title-game MVP Zeon Chriss leading the way with 323 yards total.
Chriss completed 9 of 16 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns. The quarterback also ran for 121 yards on 20 carries and scored one touchdown in the game played Wednesday at Northwestern State University’s Turpin Stadium.
“I play hard for my coach and my teammates,” Chriss said. “I love them. We came on strong like we were supposed to.”
Jaccare Cooper added 106 yards on 13 carries for Madison Prep.
It was the seventh straight victory for the Chargers, who defeated four higher seeds on the way to the title. It was the first loss to Union (11-1). Running back Trey Holly led the Farmers with 110 yards on 23 carries.
MPA raced out to a 30-0 halftime lead and was ahead 44-0 when tornado warnings forced the game to be stopped with 3:20 remaining. Union chose finish the game and it ended with the Chargers adding a touchdown on the final play of the game when reserve Tony Lewis broke loose for a 15-yard run.
“Madison Prep did a great job. They came out here and took care of business,” Union Parish coach Joe Spatafora said. “Execution is a big part of the game. We didn’t execute and they did. We did not do a good job of getting off the field (on defense) and they took advantage of it.”
With the win, Madison Prep became the fourth lower seed to claim a title during the four-day event that began Sunday. Catholic High, winner of the Division I title Sunday, also was the lower seed in its title game.
The Chargers showed poise from the opening kickoff and scored on all but one first-half possession, building a 30-0 lead.
They drove 76 yards on 16 plays to score after the opening kickoff with Chriss effectively running and passing.
Union had given up some big pass plays during the season and Madison Prep found ways to exploit that weakness.
It looked like two penalties in the red zone would be the Chargers’ undoing on the first drive.
But second-and-goal from the Union 21 proved to be no problem. Chriss scrambled for 19 yards and scored on a 2-yard run to make it a 6-0 game with 6:43 to go in the first quarter.
“Zeon is real easy to coach because he wants to do the right thing and get better each and every game,” Williams said. “I told him to just go and be yourself today. He has the ability to take over a game.”
Holly returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards. The Farmers then ran down to the goal line. But a fumble in the backfield was recovered by Madison’s Marlon Smart.
Less than three minutes later, the Chargers scored again. Chriss connected with Smart on a 72-yard TD pass play and then ran for the two-point conversion to make it 14-0 with 41 seconds left in the first period.
Things did not get any better for the Farmers. They opted to go for it on fourth-and-3 at the MPA 37. Cole Dison’s pass fell incomplete.
Madison Prep took over and drove 63 yards in nine plays. Chriss’ 26-yard TD pass to Brian Chatman and a two-point conversion run by Hakeem King upped the score to 22-0.
The Chargers scored once more. A 41-yard run by Cooper set up Chriss’ 24-yard TD pass to Raby gave MPA a 30-0 halftime lead.
Union ran fake punts on fourth down a couple of times in the second half. Nothing clicked for the Farmers. Quency Wiggins helped lead a Madison Prep defensive line that Union struggled to get past. He was one of five players who recorded six tackles for the winners.
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