MADILL — Sometimes it’s good to be the king.
MADILL — Sometimes it’s good to be the king.
At least this was the case for Madill’s John Venable Friday night against Dickson.
The Wildcats senior was not only named Homecoming King at halftime against the Comets, but he helped spark his team with three touchdowns and an interception as Madill won 55-27 at Blake Smiley Stadium.
“John didn’t get to play last year because of a knee injury, and he’s a self-made player,” Madill coach Todd Vargas said. “He got himself ready for this season, and is crazy strong. We knew he could be an impact player night in and night out. John is a big physical runner, and he’s got some speed to go with it which he showed tonight.”
“It’s always nice to get a win, and this was much needed for us,” Vargas added. “We’ve played good the first two games, but we had too many mistakes so it overshadowed all the good we did. Defensively we struggled at first with the schemes Dickson was running. They have a great coaching staff and an extremely tough quarterback (Rusty Beard). I felt like in the second half we really settled in, and our coaching staff made some great adjustments.”
Venable’s standout night started on the defensive end as he got an interception and returned it 50-yards for a touchdown early in the first quarter.
However, the score was called back due to a penalty on the Wildcats, but the interception stood.
The end result proved to be the same though just a few plays later when Ryan Shahan scampered his way 29 yards for the touchdown, giving the Wildcats at 7-0 lead after the extra point from Francisco Perez at the 6:39 mark of the first quarter.
After forcing Dickson into a punt on its next possession, the Wildcats would be bitten by the turnover bug on their next spell with the ball.
Dickson recovered a fumble on the Wildcats’ 21-yard line, which Rusty Beard was happy to cash in for a two-yard touchdown just three plays later, leading to a tie 7-7 game at the 4:07 mark.
Madill though needed just two plays to regain the lead as Venable broke loose for his first touchdown of the night, this one from 51 yards out to make it 14-7 with 3:18 left in the first.
Less than five minutes into the second quarter though it was all square again, thanks to Johnny Smith.
After appearing to be stopped short of the goal line, Smith used a strong second effort to eventually push his way in for an eight-yard touchdown, tying the game at 14-14.
But Madill’s offense caught a break on its next possession as Mateo Fajardo broke free on a 4th and 13 from the Comets’ 26-yard line for the touchdown, putting the Wildcats up 21-14 with 5:18 left in the first half.
With less than three minutes to go before halftime, Venable got his second score of the night, with this one coming from 39 yards out to make it 27-14 after the missed extra point.
However the Comets had some tricks up their sleeve just before the end of the first half as Smith converted a fake punt on a 4th and 10 from the Dickson 30-yard line for 21 yards. which sparked the DHS offense.
Beard got his second touchdown of the night just a few plays later from 16 yards out to make it 27-20 after the extra point was blocked.
But it was Madill, and in particular Fajardo who would have the last word in the first half as he dashed his way 60 yards for the touchdown, sending the Wildcats into the locker room leading 34-20.
At the start of the third quarter, it appeared as though momentum was swinging towards Dickson, as the Comets defense recovered another fumble by the Wildcats.
For the third time on the night it was Beard cashing in as he punched it in from seven yards out to make it 34-27 at the 6:51 mark of the third quarter.
But once again, Madill turned to its reliable playmaker in Venable as he raced his way 60 yards for the touchdown making it 41-27 just 11 seconds after the Dickson score.
With less than a minute to go before the end of the third, Wildcats quarterback Asa Robertson played receiver as he caught a pass from Kendall Robertson for a 32-yard touchdown, before Robertson finished off the game in the fourth quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run.
Beard finished the game with 24 carries for 188 yards and three touchdowns, while Smith totaled 127 yards rushing with one touchdown.
Venable finished the game with 13 carries for 232 yards and three touchdowns, while Fajardo had five carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
Dickson (0-3) will open district play at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at home against Coalgate, while Madill (1-2) will also open district play at the same time on the road against Cushing against the Tigers.