The Madison football team fell one win shy of a perfect season and its first-ever state championship last November. This fall, the Bulldogs are looking to bite back.
A year ago, the Madison Bulldogs blitzed their first three playoff opponents, outscoring Milbank Area, Vermillion, and Dell Rapids 157-18 en route to their first-ever "11A" championship game. Madison lost to West Central, 28-21, but may ultimately win in the long run.
"Last year was great for our program. Our numbers are better than they've ever been. We're over 60 up here nine through twelve, and then we've got 53 seventh and eighth graders. So, our program's probably in the best place it's been in a long time," head coach Max Hodgen said.
Madison graduated six all-state players from last year's team, including quarterback Jacob Giles and running back Rush Milne (mill-en), who combined to score more than 50 touchdowns. But, if anyone can pull it off, apparently its fifth-year head coach Max Hodgen.
"He's a great guy. He's a great coach. He really knows his stuff. Every play he's got something to tell you. He's always improving your game," senior tight end Carter Kasuske said.
"He's just fun to be around. He's a players coach. He's always there for you no matter what...football related, school related. He's a great coach," senior running back Isaac Schubert said.
Madison will get its rematch with West Central on September 26th, but Hodgen and company don't exactly have it circled on the calendar.
"I'm just worried about Dell Rapids. That's our focus. That's what I've been talking to the guys about. There's no bad taste in the mouth. It's a new year, and all we can do is focus on one game at a time," Hodgen said.
The Bulldogs aren't overlooking any foe, but they do have championship aspirations.
"It'd mean everything. That's every ball player's dream starting out in pee-wee to bring a state championship home. It's just a dream," Schubert said.
The Bulldogs will open the regular season August 29th, at Dell Rapids.