MADISON – Down by just two points and with ten seconds to go in the fourth quarter, the Newark Central High School Blue Devils had one final chance on Saturday afternoon to pull out a win against the Madison Dodgers at Madison High School.
Blue Devils quarterback Naheem Cleveland delivered a 25-yard, game-winning touchdown pass into the hands of Mohammed Kamara with one second to go. The kick was good, and Madison fell to Newark 35-40.
Dodger Matt Mulcahy caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Schmitz to secure a 21-13 lead at halftime, but the Madison team was unable to maintain its advantage.
The Blue Devils team scored the majority of its points with long touchdown runs. Newark’s first two trips to the end zone came from two 85-yard runs in the first quarter, completed by Cleveland and Syfee Campbell, respectively.
Campbell outran Dodgers defenders to score another two touchdowns for Newark in the final quarter: a 96-yard kickoff return and an 82-yard run.
Newark is “a dangerous team,” Madison Head Coach Chris Kubik said. “They’re fast, they made plays, they outran us.”
The Blue Devils struggled to secure several extra points, including two failed kicks and another pair of unsuccessful two-point conversion attempts.
Nasir Love scored Madison’s final touchdown, an 80-yard kickoff return.
“It was nice to see some young guys step up, and he was one of them. We were definitely proud of his effort,” Kubik said.
Saturday’s loss was the Madison's third consecutive defeat this season, but Kubik told his team not to give up.
“The season is not over today,” he said.
With a 2-4 season record, Madison faces off Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. against the Hanover Park Hornets at Hanover Park High School.
“It’s going to be a war,” Kubik said. “It’s a tough rivalry. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but they will, too. They’re going to have to deal with us, and we’re going to be ready.”
Senior players were recognized during Saturday's game at the halftime ceremony. Honored players included Brian Bradley, Ryan Schmitz, Santi Quintero, Mike Holland, Ryan Manna, Griffin Lutz, Nicholas Taylor, Pat Higgins, Henry Pace, Brian Harris, Anthony Vacchiano, Max North, Paul Links, Nate Klimaszewski, Trevor Jasen and Kaiser Lajewski.