By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Madison Southern Eagles remained perfect on the season with a convincing 44-6 win over winless Southwestern Friday at home.
The Eagles dominated on both sides of the ball.
On offense, junior tailback Damien Harris had another big game, rushing 28 times for 274 yards and four touchdowns.
The Eagles were also effective through the air. Quarterback Aaron Slone was 6-of-7 for 61 yards, with touchdown passes of 12 and 16 yards to senior Devante Linville.
On defense, the Eagles smothered the Warriors, holding them to only 143 yards of total offense, while recovering two fumbles and picking off one pass.
“We played well tonight. That was the best football game we’ve played all season,” Southern coach Jon Clark said. “We ran the ball well, threw the ball efficiently, zero turnovers and how ‘bout our defense? They get better and better every game. Our defense is outstanding right now.”
Southern wasted no time jumping on the Warriors.
After recovering an onside kick to begin the game, it only took one play for Harris to ramble 40 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead.
The only highlight for the Warriors came on the ensuing kickoff when Logan Campisano broke containment and raced 90 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown to tie the game at 6-6.
Touchdown runs of 56 and 21 yards by Harris put Southern up 20-6 after one quarter.
That’s when the Eagles passing game took over.
Slone hit Linville for a 12-yard touchdown that gave the Eagles a 27-6 lead at the half. The two connected again on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half, this time from 16 yards out to put Southern up 34-6.
Harris added a 35-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, then the Eagles’ reserves orchestrated a nice drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a field goal with 1:22 left.
On the drive, Alex Layne did most of the damage, carrying the ball six times for 88 yards, including a 53-yard scamper to the 2-yard-line.
After the opening touchdown return, the Eagles special teams did a masterful job of keeping the Warriors in check.
Punter John Lamb had a big night, twice pinning the Warriors deep in their own territory by placing punts inside the 15-yard-line. Lamb averaged 45 yards per punt on the night.
Being 6-0 on the season is something new for the Southern program, but Clark said his team has embraced the challenges that go with the expectations.
“Our guys are dedicated. They’re focused and hard working and they are getting a taste of what it’s like to be an elite program,” Clark said. “They’re starting to get that taste and it’s contagious. Once you get that taste it lingers and you want more.”
Southern’s win sets up a monumental showdown of unbeaten teams next Friday when No. 2 ranked Pulaski County comes to Berea, with the winner of the game gaining a stranglehold on the district race with only two games remaining.
Clark said he knows his guys will be ready and he’s looking forward to watching his defense against the Maroons much ballyhooed offense.
“Our defense is just solid and they’re playing really good right now. I’m anxious to see us play next week against a high powered offense,” Clark said. “We’ll do what we plan to do all year. We show up, we work, we grind and do what we need to do to win that game Friday night.”