Madison Prep appeared sloppy and sluggish in the first half against Booker T. Washington.
But the Chargers came charging out of the locker room to erase a 10-point deficit and claim a 38-20 win in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs at Istrouma on Friday night.
No. 4 Madison Prep (11-1) was plagued with mistakes in the first half, giving up 100 yards in penalties through the first two quarters.
The Chargers looked like a different team in the third quarter, however, scoring a touchdown on the fourth play of the second half and taking the lead for good on their next possession.
Coach Landry Williams said he gave his squad an “attitude adjustment” during the break.
“I reminded them what this game was all about, that we’ve put in too much work to play like we were playing,” Williams said. “They responded and we were able to close the game out.”
Junior running back Benjamin Stewart caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Zeon Chriss on MPA’s first possession of the second half to close the deficit to 20-17.
Chriss was 13-of-21 passing with 133 yards and two interceptions in the game. Myles Poullard paced the Chargers on the ground with 85 yards on 12 attempts.
MPA took the lead for good when they forced a Lion punt on the next series. Senior Major Burns burst through the line and blocked the punt, and junior Andre Haynes recovered in the end zone to put the Chargers ahead.
“He’s real slippery,” Williams said of Burns, noting it was the senior’s fourth blocked punt of the season. “He plays long and he’s got speed, and that play really gave us the momentum we needed.”
The No. 13 Lions (8-4) built their 20-10 lead by taking advantage of two turnovers and 10 infractions by the Chargers in the first half alone, including three personal fouls.
Chriss also threw two interceptions in the first half, after giving up just five on the season.
One of those interceptions led to the Lions capturing their first lead of the game at the 4:36 mark of the second quarter. Junior defender Damian Alexander stepped in front of a pass intended for senior wide receiver Joel Williams.
The Lions took the turnover and traveled 70 yards in 10 plays to claim their first lead of the night. Quarterback Kentrell Harris scored on a 12-yard run to give the Lions a 20-10 advantage.
The scoring drive featured a successful fourth-and-6 conversion at MPA’s 32-yard line as Harris found a crease in the Charger line for a 10-yard gain to keep the drive alive.
MPA started quickly with a touchdown on its first drive of the night. The Chargers took over at the Lions 30-yard line after a 12-yard punt and used six plays to reach the end zone. Chriss scored the TD from 1 yard out.