Madison team football huddle

The Madison Warhawks gather after its state semifinal playoff loss. (Photo by Dave Facinoli)

It left an impression, how long the Madison High School football team remained on its home field April 24 after losing to South County, 29-22, in an emotional seesaw state semifinal game of the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state tourney.

The playoff loss ended Madison’s season with an 8-1 record and district and region championships to its credit. The Warhawks also defeated Westfield for the first time this season, occurring on Madison’s home field.

Also, Madison was 2-0 in the region playoffs on its turf.

The Warhawks lost in the final moments against South County. There were a lot of emotions throughout the contest, especially at the end. So the players wanted to keep hanging around, weren’t ready to leave anytime soon. Coaches, too.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever leave this field,” head coach Justin Counts said.

Hanging around a football field after a big win in a high-school playoff game, usually a championship contest, is a common occurrence. Losing teams, though, often don’t stick around like the Warhawks – instead wanting to escape the disappointment of the venue. 

The Madison players were still in uniform. Players and team managers sat and laid down, walked around, hugged and talked about the game and the unusual COVID season,

Meanwhile, the parents of the players and managers stood and waited patiently and quietly in front and beside Madison’s home bleachers. They left the team members alone.

The field crew started removing game paraphernalia, but the players stayed in place, coaches as well.

The South County team was long gone, but the Warhawks remained, slowly leaving the field some 45 minutes after game’s end. Some talked of returning later that night. They didn’t want their season to be over. Many good things happened on that field.

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