Madison Academy drops to Class 3A again, looking to improve at the end 12-2

Madison Academy, which reached the Class 4A semi-finals in 2021, will be working toward its 14th consecutive berth for football this season — and for the fifth time in eight seasons, the Mustang has changed the AHSAA ratings. Coach Bob Godsey’s squad is relegated to Class 3A this year and will compete in the new-look Zone 7.

“It is what it is,” Godsey said of the No. 10 rollercoaster ride prep rating that has run Madison Academy since 2015. Then you throw the competitive balance in there and that’s another component.”

Madison Academy had been bumped into Class 5A because of the AHSAA’s competitive balance rule, and Godsey said, had his team beat Oneonta in the semifinals last year, the Mustang would have been selected to Class 5A because of the rule. But he said where they play is not a big concern to him.

“There are really great software in 3A as there are in 4A,” said Godsey. “Our goal is to continue to grow and develop young people, no matter where they put us.”

The revamped District 7 has only two teams that were around last season – Asbury and Brindlee Mountain. Danville was in zone 8 while Susan Moore, JP Pennington and Venmont were in zone 6.

The enemies of the Mustang region will be mostly unfamiliar. According to the Alabama High School Football History Association, Madison Academy last met JB Pennington of Blountsville in 2013, Brindley Mountain in 2011, Danville in 2009, Vinemont in 2007, and Susan Moore in 1964. She did not play Mustang Asprey never.

The out-of-zone matches will be mostly against the 4A teams that Madison Academy played as a zone competitor last season at Randolph, Madison County and Westminster Christian along with the season opener at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Dichler. The Mustang was 2-0 against the Tigers, winning 28-7 in 2012 and 45-14 in 2013.

New opponents will face plenty of newcomers to the starting lineup, with Madison Academy featuring three starters returning on both attack and defense from last season’s 12-2 squad that ranked number one in the final three weeks of the regular season. And the Mustang, who lost their first and last game a year ago, did not leave the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s graduating first team, linebacker Deuss Spurlock, offensive lineman Caden Young and returnee Will Stokes. Nine of the 17 seniors signed up for college scholarships.

Spurlock is at the University of Michigan, Young in North Alabama and Stokes—who was an excellent all-state pick after scoring 49 goals last season, 47 on the ground—signed with Alabama State.

It’s hard to replace those three, said Godsey, to do all the things these people did and play ball a lot. We graduated 17 from a team of 37, but now we’re up to 48 on the team. We only have seven seniors. This team is talented, But he’s young, so there will be some growing pains.

“These guys have been around since January and have worked hard as they could. They did everything they could to prepare themselves. They worked hard to get their chance. It’s their turn. They are in the same place where Deuce, Will, and Caden were three years ago.”

“It will take time for you to grow up and mature, but I am excited about this group,” said Godsey.

Quarterback Carson Crehan is back in his first season after throwing 2,341 yards and 13 touchdowns for Mustangs a year ago. “It was really his first job as a quarterback,” said Godsey. “It kept growing as the year went on.”

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Crehan has had no interceptions in his last seven games — 135 attempts — and completed 67 percent of his passes over the course of the year.

Mario Brewer’s wide-angle receiver/array is expected to be Creehan’s top target. Godsey said of the 5-7, 132-pounder game, “He’s small, but we really need him to take on some game-making duties. He’s had big plays on both sides of the ball and he’s a really good leader for us.”

Two of the returning offensive linemen at Madison Academy are both rookies for two years – Brock Horton and Rhys Becker.

Godsey singled out first of all for treating the nose with Dylan Johnson as an announcer for his defense. “I am really proud of what he did to prepare himself for his first year,” the coach said. “I’m really excited to watch it this year.”

Godsey, who is 27-9 in three seasons at Huntsville Private School and 210-75 in 25 as head coach, said he believes his senior teammates are advancing into strong leadership positions. “Mario sets the pace and he and Carson are working very hard. They, and all of our seniors, have set the tone in their work ethic. Like the rest of the team, they have to take the next step as we move into the season.”

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