New era Madrid football peaks with shutout against rebuilding Perry

Sean Cordy - Correspondent
Perry's Cayden Widen with a run against Madrid on Friday, Oct. 2 in Madrid.

Donuts for the home team.

After a shutout win, Madrid head coach Brock Hinkel had even more good news for the Tigers: Everyone would get free donuts on Saturday to celebrate the "donut" on the scoreboard Friday night. Three weeks since the Tigers last saw the field, Madrid (2-2) still walked away Friday with a home victory 47-0 over the Perry Bluejays (0-6). Made possible by a gap in Perry's schedule due to a COVID-cancellation, the impromptu game gave a peek into what the future could hold for both programs.

Jose Flores breaks up a pass on Friday, Oct. 2 in Madrid.

Hinkel said he was happy to see his team back on the field no matter the circumstance as the program continues to improve under the system he implemented last year with aims of returning to glory days. 

After boasting nine winning seasons from 2007-16, Madrid's fortune has gone south with just five wins the previous three seasons. The Tigers' 47-point shutout win gives them their first multi-win season since 2017 and highest point total since 2016.

"We changed up the entire offense and defense (last year) and they're starting to figure it out a little more day-by-day," Hink said about the team’s growth in his two seasons. "We knew we were gonna take our lumps here and there playing some guys. But it's just starting to come together."

On the same note, the Jays are in search of their first win since 2017, struggling against top-shelf competition. Playing Madrid (a Class 1A team) provided an opportunity to see the difference in competition level with a naturally smaller team.

Though Madrid eventually eclipsed 40 points like every other opponent this season, Perry limited the Tigers to just 14 points in the first half before more big plays broke in the second half. That's the best first-half mark by Perry's defense over the past two seasons.

Perry football on the road against Madrid on Friday, Oct. 2

Time-and-again, Perry came within inches of muffling that score even more as the Tigers routinely required big conversions to stay alive, even the beginning drive. After a 23-yard touchdown pass was called back on a penalty, Madrid turned its eyes to quarterback Brady Leonard for a fourth-down draw play to go up 7-0.

That same situation played out a couple of minutes later with another run up the middle for Leonard to take the 14-0 lead. He'd finish with five touchdowns and 171 yards on the ground along with 6-of-14 passes for 106 with an opening drive touchdown called back on a penalty.

"We just wanted to get my feet going and get the clock running. Stuff like that," Leonard said, crediting his offensive line for creating space to convert those big plays.

Perry had innumerable opportunities to respond thanks to a rash of Madrid fumbles (but only one turnover) including a muffed punt inside the 25-yard line to set up shop for the Bluejays. Both that possession and a kickoff return by Abe Ruiz into enemy territory were met by a wall of Madrid defenders to pitch the shutout. Madrid's Gabe Peterson led the way with nine tackles and two sacks as the Tigers allowed just four total yards. Leonard tacked on eight tackles followed by Noah Brown (7). 

Cayden Fuson and Matt Fuller each had an interception, with Fuller's pick-six coming late in the fourth quarter for a house call. Fuson also had the entirety of the team's receiving production while Conner Williams had the remaining TD along with 95 yards rushing.

To close out the regular season, Madrid stays at home Friday against Ogden (2-2) while Perry finishes on the road at ADM (2-4) which is coming off a 16-14 loss to No. 1 Dallas Center-Grimes.

Perry's Jeremiah Baker attempts a pass against Madrid on Friday, Oct. 2 in Madrid.