BIG PLAYMAKERS: Madison’s Ethan Weber (top photo, 10) dives to cover a fumbled handoff from Bedford North Lawrence quarterback Jesse Millikan (12) in the first quarter of Friday’s game in Madison and the Cubs’ Wayne Sherbahn (above photo, 33) slashes through the Stars’ defense on the next play for a 70-yard touchdown. The big plays on defense and offense gave Madison a 7-0 lead before BNL rallied for a 27-7 win. (Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
BIG PLAYMAKERS: Madison’s Ethan Weber (top photo, 10) dives to cover a fumbled handoff from Bedford North Lawrence quarterback Jesse Millikan (12) in the first quarter of Friday’s game in Madison and the Cubs’ Wayne Sherbahn (above photo, 33) slashes through the Stars’ defense on the next play for a 70-yard touchdown. The big plays on defense and offense gave Madison a 7-0 lead before BNL rallied for a 27-7 win. (Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
Madison's football team used a big play on defense and an even bigger play on offense to seize a 7-0 lead on Bedford North Lawrence on the Cubs' senior night Friday.

But just when it looked like Madison might earn its third win of the season, a storm front carrying heavy rain moved over Cub Field and doused Madison's passing attack while fueling BNL's big ground attack to a 27-7 comeback win.

Bedford was already running the ball at will on the opening drive of the game when a fumbled handoff from quarterback Jesse Millikan to running back Kole Korvela went to the ground and came up in the hands of Madison defensive back Ethan Weber with 7:53 left in the first quarter.

The Cubs wasted no time in converting the turnover into a score when quarterback Kyle Callahan connected with Wayne Sherbahn on a dump pass in the flat and the senior speedster zig-zagged, weaved and cutback through the Stars' defense for a 70-yard touchdown. Hunter Sego booted the PAT and the Cubs led 7-0 with 7:35 left in the quarter.

"It was a great start," Madison head coach Steve Fish said. "I was trying to talk to the defense at the time so I had my back to it but I could hear the guys behind me getting excited and the crowd start yelling so I looked back and he was on his last jaunt down the sidelines there. Wayne is a kid who is a pretty good talent, so if you get him the ball in the open field he has the ability with his speed and pretty good athleticism to make plays like that."

Bedford North Lawrence answered the Madison drive just under three minutes later when Jade Daab carried the ball into the end zone on a 9-yard run, and kicker Arie Evans hit the PAT for a 7-7 tie with 4:47 left in the first quarter.

The Stars struck again with 1:25 left in the period when Millikan connected with Daab on a 37-yard scoring strike. Evans' kick put the Stars on top 14-7.

Midway through the second quarter, the storm moved in, grounding both offenses as hard rain and gusting wind stalled drives and chased fans from the stands.

"We couldn't throw with the wind blowing and the rain and just the condition of the field made it tough," Fish said. "It's just hard to move the ball in that. But the kids had great effort and we did a lot of great things out here."

Those great things included a couple of defensive stands in the second quarter - the first when the Cubs held the Stars on a fourth and one at the 6-yard line to halt a 7:18 Bedford drive with 3:50 left in the first half and the second when Madison held on another fourth down with 27 seconds left in the half.

"I've kind of taken over the defense this year and each week they seem to understand it a little more," Fish said. "We're a slanting, blitzing, come from all over the place team and sometimes we're successful at doing it and we get some stops but we just don't have the physical size on the team to just line up and play a more traditional four man front ... we have to do what we can and utilize quickness and hit the gaps hard."

The big plays Madison's defense made in the first half proved a little tougher to execute in the second half as the rain intensified and the field conditions favored Bedford's big backs running off bigger down linemen.

"This is north and south weather and we just had difficulty stopping them," Fish said.

Bedford ended up rushing for 360 yards on 60 carries to go with 4-of-9 passing for 61 yards for a 421-yard night on offense. The Stars racked up 21 first downs to the Cubs' three, eating up game clock in chunks to keeping the Madison offense on the sidelines.

"After that first touchdown we just never got anything out of (Sherbahn)," Fish said. "The field conditions neutralized him and I think they put some adjustments in so he wasn't free as much.

"Wayne is a pretty good athlete and we wish we could have gotten him open more and I wish we could have gotten the ball to (Jordan) Partee more throwing it to him," Fish added. "But you saw those balls. They were just wobbling out there in the wind and the rain. There were a couple of plays if we could have connected we could have moved the ball down the field and had more of a scoring threat."

The Cubs tried to pass in the second half but the Stars caught more big Madison passes than the Cubs once the rain started falling. Madison's only turnover came when Matt Shoufler intercepted Callahan with 22.7 seconds left in the third quarter.

Bedford (4-4, 4-2 Hoosier Hills Conference) then used two long scoring drives to put the game away in the fourth quarter. The first came on a five-play, 69-yard drive that was extended by a 28-yard surprise by Jake Bell on a fake punt with 10:10 left in the contest.

Bell, the upback, took a direct snap on the fake punt to turn a fourth-and-four play into new life for the Stars. Bedford captalized immediately when Daab rambled 30 yards on the next snap for a 21-7 lead with 9:49 left.

Bedford's final score came with 45.3 seconds left when Korvela capped a 7:44 drive that covered 76 yards in 16 plays with a 15-yard touchdown run. Madison blocked Evans' kick but the damage was already done.

"What they run they run really well," Fish said of the Stars. "We were battling with them and then we had that fake punt on fourth down. I think that was a big momentum changer right there. We were setting up a block, trying to get in there and create something and lo and behold they snap it to the upback. I think there was one guy who had a shot at him and our cover guy, he was running down field with their gunner and he's got his back to them so he's going the same direction. That was a big play for them and then they score on the next play. It was just a tough break"

Madison, now 2-6 including a 36-7 loss to Jeffersonville that the Red Devils later had to forfeit, played with a quarterback for the first time in two games as senior Kyle Callahan made his first start at that position this year.

The Cubs, 1-5 in the HHC, play their final regular season and conference game Friday night at Seymour (2-6, 3-3 HHC).