After forcing Madison County (12-2) to punt, White directed another drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Taylor that cut the Cowboys lead to 17-10 at halftime.
During that final drive of the half, University star wide receiver Jordan Cunningham suffered a left knee sprain that kept him out of the game until early in the fourth quarter.
“They put their linebackers about 1 or 2 yards off the ball and stunted a lot, and at first we didn’t know what to do,” senior offensive lineman Jordan Budwig said. “We started running the opposite way of where we lined up our three wide receivers and that’s when you saw Jordan start to get the running game going.”
After the adjustment in the second half, Scarlett found some openings and eventually the end zone on a 14-yard touchdown run that cut the deficit to 17-16. University was unable to tie, however, after Krus missed the extra point.
Taylor fumbled on the Suns’ ensuing drive, squandering another chance to take the lead. But he and Cunningham would each have moments of redemption in the fourth quarter. Taylor was also dropped what appeared to be a pass from White in the first half but was called a lateral and therefore a fumble that Madison County recovered. Moments later, the Cowboys took their 17-0 lead when McKnight found Shedrick Williams open for a 40-yard touchdown.
Cunningham, who limped off the field at halftime with his knee wrapped, made a leaping catch over a defender for a key 28-yard gain to Madison County’s 29-yard line. Five plays later, the Suns had the lead for good when White connected with Emanuel Soto on an 11-yard touchdown strike.
And Taylor would atone for his earlier miscues by catching a two-point conversion pass.
“Our kids showed a ton of resolve and extraordinary heart,” Harriott said. “The title is great and it means a lot to us, but it was more exciting to watch these kids overcome adversity and learn a lesson on how to become better citizens in life.”