By Alexandra Gutierrez
Hours before the game started, Harlingen fans began to flood the stadium, before the Mavs’ arrival even. But the opponents’ massive crowd, booing the players as they warmed up, in no way discouraged them.
On Dec. 2, Varsity faced off against the Harlingen Cardinals in the state quarterfinals. As the underdogs of this game, the Mavs weren’t expected to win, but when it was all said and done, they boarded the bus home with a 42-27 win.
“It felt great proving everybody wrong and silencing their [Harlingen’s] crowd,” junior safety Avery Williams said. “When we’re underdogs, we play harder. It’s a Madison Maverick motto.”
Soon after minutes started ticking off the scoreboard, the 0-0 score was broken with a 30-yard touchdown by Marquis Warford. After a Harlingen touchdown, Warford ended the quarter 14-7 with a screen pass resulting in Madison’s second touchdown. As soon as the second quarter started, quarterback Justin Jones scored a third touchdown. Harlingen then responded with a touchdown and failed conversion. At the end of the half, the score was 28-13, in the Mavs’ favor. But the halftime lead didn’t get to anybody’s head.
“When we got the lead at halftime, it motivated us to play a better second half,” head coach Jim Streety said.
About half way through the third quarter, Harlingen scored the first points of the half. Then, at the end of the quarter, junior running back Galen McAllister scored his first touchdown of the game and ended the quarter 35-20. During the last quarter of the game, Warford scored the game’s last points after a 66-yard throw from Jones, ending the game 42-27.
“It wasn’t a surprising win, but it was a well-earned, satisfying win,” Williams added. “We believed we could [win] and we did.”
Over the season, the defense has grown stronger and became the key to beating Harlingen. During the game, they forced four turnovers, including a fumble caused by defensive tackle Vincent Taylor and three interceptions.
“Everybody has that motivational drive to prove skeptics wrong,” Williams said about his teammates on the line.
Varsity will be playing Hightower on Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. at the Alamodome in hopes of going to state.
“It would be hard to imagine any other team wanting that state title more than we do,” McAllister said. “I know we’ll leave our best on the field.”