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Madison’s Kearney Last Minute TD Pass Leads To Repeat As State Champs

Madison 13, Lenape Valley 7

(Photo by Tom Horak - Double G Media)

(Photo by Tom Horak – Double G Media)


Madison’s Michael Kearney threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Matt Mulcahy with 15 seconds left to lead the Dodgers to a 13-7 win and deny the Lenape Valley Patriots their eighth state championship in school history. It was a thriller, with a late score lifting Madison to a repeat North 2, Group 2 crown.

After catching the ball, Mulcahy gets a crucial block from his brother, P.J., springing him before he dives toward the pylon. The last touchdown, the state tittle both belong to Madison. A dream moment, on a big stage, with your older brother lending a big assist. Not much can be better than that.

“There are a bunch of emotions going through your mind so you’re just trying to tell yourself to stay calm,” Mulcahy said after the game. “We did what we had to do and go into the end zone.”

The loss was the Patriots’ second one to Madison this season, as they also lost a 45-42 contest on Sept. 10 at Madison. In that game, Kearney threw a 9-yard TD pass to P.J. Mulcahy on fourth-and-goal with 1:27 left to give the Dodgers the lead and the victory.

The game was tied 7-7 at halftime. Both teams were locked in on a defensive smackdown in the 3rd and 4th quarters of the game. The Dodgers did everything they could to prevent Madison from scoring but that last second pass by Michael Kearney just slipped by the safety and corner back.

(Photo by Tom Horak - Double G Media)

(Photo by Tom Horak – Double G Media)

“The kids played their hearts out. It was a 13-7 game, but this one is going to sting for a while,” Lenape Valley head coach Don Smolyn. “We came awful close. These games with these guys (the Dodgers), this is what it has been every time. So, it was a tough game.”

Despite the defeat, the Patriots finished the season with their first 10-win season since 1999. They also won the North Jersey Super Football Conference’s American Red Division title, which allowed them to repeat as division/league champs for the first time since that ’99 season, and made their 13th state final appearance in school history.

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