NEW BRAUNFELS – What Aaron Green could not do for almost three quarters of Thursday night's District 26-5A opener with his feet, the San Antonio Madison running back did with his arm.
And it proved to be a backbreaker for New Braunfels.
One week after the sophomore tailback rushed for nine touchdowns in a single game, Green launched a 49-yard touchdown pass to Nate Askew in the final 90 seconds of the third quarter that ultimatley lifted the Mavericks to a 24-21 over the Unicorns before a packed house at Unicorn Stadium.
Green, a sophomore, rushed for 428 yards and a San Antonio city record nine touchdowns last week against Kerrville Tivy. Entering the game against a New Braunfels (2-1, 0-1) defense that had forced 13 turnovers and a total of six points in two non-district games, the yards came a lot tougher for Green. Finishing the night with 127 yards on 25 carries, Green made his biggest play when the Mavericks (3-0, 1-0) needed it the most.
Madison staked a 14-7 halftime lead in what was as physical and intense as any high school football game could possibly be, when Leo Gutierrez hit Askew for an 18-yard scoring strike and then found Chris Doring on the ensuing two-point conversion pass with no time left on the first half clock.
New Braunfels' offense rallied behind the legs of quarterback Blake Forester, who found the end zone from 13-yards out midway through the third quarter. The Mavericks however were able to hold onto the lead as senior safety Andrew Green blocked the ensuing extra point attempt, giving Madison a slim 14-13 edge with 6:52 left in the period.
With momentum shifting away from them and with the Unicorn fan base on their feet, Madison's ensuing offensive series featured more of what they had done all night with minimal success. Gutierrez went back to chucking slants at Askew and Alex Montgomery, an array of passes that were mixed in with efforts to get Green loose off tackle. Faced with a third-and-long, the Mavericks called Green's number on a toss play to the right side of the field. As they had done all night, the New Braunfels defense came up in a gang effort to stop the sophomore sensation.
Green however pulled up and lofted a pass down the field to a wide open Askew, who had gotten behind the Unicorn secondary and caught the ball in stride for the game clinching score.
For the first time all year the Unicorns were minus in the turnover margin an an early first half fumble haulted what was shaping up to be an impressive drive. On that series, Madison senior defensive end Tyler James ran Forester down with backside pursuit an stripped the ball from the Uncorn signal caller, allowing Brandon Baxter to scoop up the ball and return in deep into New Braunfels territory.
The second turnover of the night proved to be even more costly however as early in the second quarter, Madison sophomore cornerback Troy Lara made a textbook break on a Forester pass to the sideline and strolled to the end zone with an 80-yard touchdown return off of the interception to give Madison a 6-0 lead.
New Braunfels took their first and only lead right before halftime when Scout.com four star linebacker Tom Wort made one of his few appearances of the night at tailback count, doing his best Emmitt Smith impression by going head over heels into the end zone on a two yard touchdown run to give New Braunfels a 7-6 edge with 1:05 to play until halftime.
Wort, who suffered an apparent ankle sprain late in the contest, led an attacking New Braunfels defense that held Madison to what will likely one of their lowest offensive outputs of the season, with 296 total yards on 53 plays. The Unicorns did however intercept their 14th pass of the season, thanks to senior safety Ryan Grametbaur.
The night however belonged to a Madison defense that was gouged for 56 points and nearly 300 yards through the air in the win over Tivy last week. James recorded two sacks and applied pressure on Forester all night while Andrew Green and junior linebacker Kris Catlin laid highlight reel hits on the Unicorn offense all night.