After Thomas Jefferson High School kept them scoreless in the first half, the Madison High Warhawks found their footing to win this year's Homecoming game 17-3 on Friday night.
After a first quarter that left both teams scoreless, the Warhawks found themselves at a 3-0 disadvantage when the Colonials kicked a 7-yard field goal with a little more than two minutes left in the half.
The Colonials drive to put them in a good field goal position came after the Warhawks squandered their possession on penalties that put them as many as 40 yards back from a first down.
The Warhawks had a season-high 15 penalties for 135 yards in Friday's game.
"We came out kinda flat. We weren't really running on all cylinders," Warhawks quarterback Dan Powers said. "Sometimes we just start slow, but we were able to come out in the second half and get points on the board."
The Warhawks turned things around for themselves in the second half, scoring the go-ahead touchdown toward the end of the third quarter on a 2-yard pass from Powers to Ben Sanford. The Warhawks found themselves at the 2-yard line because the defense forced a fumble, which Jimmy Goldsmith recovered.
"Our defense keeps us in there every game," Powers said. "Our offense needs to start clicking on everything we run, and click early in the game."
After taking a 7-3 lead, the Warhawks never looked back. They scored twice more in the fourth quarter — a 15-yard pass to Sanford and a 40-yard field goal from Nick Dorka — to put the final score at 17-3.
Denzell Henderson led the Warhawks in rushing yards with 25, and Jacob Hall added 20 more. Tom House's 36 receiving yards led the Warhawks, with Sanford following with a tally of 24 receiving yards.
The Warhawks' victory stretched their win streak to five games. Their only loss on the season came in the season-opener against Oakton High.
Next week, the Warhawks will travel to South Lakes (2-4) for another Liberty District game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"I think we just need to learn to come out playing hard from the beginning," Powers said. "We're looking OK for the rest of the district games, though. We've got a couple games coming up that will be extremely tough, but hopefully we can end this season at the top of the district."