MADEIRA – Three straight losses in the second half of the season knocked Madeira off course in its search for a fifth consecutive playoff appearance.
On Oct. 23, the Mustangs suffered their most-lopsided loss of the season, 38-0, at the hands of Cincinnati Hills League rival, Taylor.
Prior to the loss, Madeira coach Mike Shafer was hopeful that wins in the final two weeks of the regular season would put his team into the postseason. But, for the first time since 2010, Madeira will turn its pads in following a week 10 showdown on Senior Night against Mariemont on Oct. 30.
“I’ve been happy with their effort,” said Shafer. “That’s the one thing we’ve been proud of, even though we’ve lost a few games, we’ve come back the next week and played hard.”
Three of Madeira’s five losses were single-digit defeats. In a 41-28 loss to unbeaten Indian Hill Oct. 16, the Mustangs scraped back from a 27-7 deficit in the second half to make it a one possession game.
“The one thing I’ve learned is these kids are gonna line up and play hard every play,” Shafer said. “As a coach, that’s all you can ask.”
In the first seven weeks, the Mustangs did it with stout defense, allowing no more than 21 points in a game. Senior defensive captains Nick Gelhaus and Jake Megois have led that side of the ball.
For the second season in a row Megois leads the CHL in tackles (120). Gelhaus, listed at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, works on multiple offensive lineman so his linebackers remain free to fly around and make plays.
“Both those guys are senior three-year starters and they’re captains,” said Shafer. “They’ve led our defense. We’ve been pretty tough to run against all year long and it’s started with those two in the middle.”
Senior captain Nick Cedillo is another important piece on both sides of the ball. Cedillo, a track standout who’s been on the podium at state, can run and his speed translates to the gridiron. On defense, Cedillo’s a cornerback and his five interceptions lead the CHL. At wide receiver, he has 33 catches for 433 yards and five touchdowns.
“Nick’s highly involved in the gameplan,” Shafer said. “He’s definitely a playmaker; he’s been a playmaker for three years. He can score from anywhere on the field.”
Junior running back Greg Corn and sophomore quarterback Kyle Johnson have both filled important roles this season. Corn’s 827 rushing yards rank third in the CHL with 10 touchdowns.
“Greg’s done a great job,” said Shafer. “He ended up being a starter toward the end of last year, and he worked hard in the weight room. We’re a running team first, with the combination of Kyle Johnson throwing the ball … our OL has done a really good job, we’ve had to move some guys around due to injury.”
The last time Mariemont visited Madeira in 2013 is the only time Mariemont’s beaten Madeira since 2008.