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AURORA - Madison Cubs football - the basis for a heart-wrenching New York Times feature last March that chronicled how last year's team helped the city cope with teen drug addiction and a suicide rate three times the national average - clearly is about more than just Xs and Os.

Although the high school team - which hosts South Dearborn Friday as both vie for their first win of the season - has had just one winning season since 1994, Coach Patric Morrison's squad isn't defined merely by wins and losses.

Morrison, a former Cubs player in the Ohio River city of 12,000, understands the dire circumstances better than most.

The night before he interviewd for the head coaching job, police called to inform Morrison that his younger brother Zach had been arrested for possession of heroin. He was sentenced to nine years in prison, from which he received early parole last fall.

The story should be required reading for all. To view it go to:





KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at Cubs Field, Madison.

RECORDS: South Dearborn 0-1, Madison 0-1.

LAST TIME: SD won at home 7-3 on Aug. 25, 2017

30-YEAR SERIES: South Dearborn 21-15

FAVORITE: Knights by 4 (Sagarin Power Index).


South Dearborn - Sagarin Ratings pick SD as a four-point favorite Friday, which would constitute their first road win since Oct. 14, 2011, 42-13 at Muncie South, should it happen. Knights certainly looked capable of handling a similarly physical Seymour squad last week, but ill-timed penalties and three turnovers - two fumbles and an interception - proved crucial. Run game couldn't get going consistently after a lightning and heavy rain just before halftime, but QB Adam Dixon showed potential, passing for 139 yards on 12-23, with a long gainer of 38. Strong-armed junior will be even better if he can get his footwork down. Senior sparkplug David Blair rushed with 53 yards on 15 carries and Ethan Getz caught 4 balls for 87 yards. Defense was typically rugged, led by safety Owen Lunsford's 5 solo stops, 3 assists and an interception. DBs Kyle VanGuelpen and Bailey Whitelock were in on the second- and third-most tackles, while LB Timmy Dick posted 3 solos, 3 assists and 2 stops for losses.

Madison - As the Cubs ran out of their big inflatable helmet prop to take the field before last Friday's 34-7 opening loss to Paoli, the most inventive gender reveal stunt yet unfolded for sixth-year coach Patric Morrison (13-39) and wife Jessica. A cannon fired pink smoke, revealing the they're expecting thei first child, a daughter due approximately Jan. 1. A short time later, senior QB Jace Humes - in his first game back after ACL surgery cut short his 2017 season - broke a 63-yard TD run on a muddy Cubs Field to give Madison the early 7-0 lead. But it was all Paoli the rest of the night, as the Rams answered with 15 points of their own in the first quarter and lead 34-7 already at halftime. A Cubs fumble gave Paoli a short field to widen the lead to 15-7, while Madison penalties extended at least two more Rams drives, allowing the visitors the chances to connect for a 55-yard TD pass and break a 53-yard TD run. Cubs were 1-9 last seaso, with the 7-3 Week 2 loss at SD their closest game, after opening with a 54-22 rout of Crawford County. Last winning season came in 2014, their second year under Coach Morrison, at 6-5.


Rand Ballart, South Dearborn (4th year) - "We need to focus on ourselves and stop making the mental mistakes that continue to keep us out of the end zone. This has been a struggle for us the last couple years. We have great drives and move the ball up and down the field but cannot seem to finish. We are working on some mental things this week that we hope will carry over and help cure some of those issues. I think folks will see a completely different offensive team this Friday, not only in our scheme but our overall attitude on the offensive side of the ball. Our defense will continue to improve and get better, and we have already made the adjustments we needed to. I am looking for our defense to have a huge game this week. Madison looks to be in their 4-3 defense again this year. I think we will see more of a 5-man front, with their linebackers moving up to give us a 5-4 look when we run our tight formation. They have some very talented kids and have a couple good-sized boys up front who we are going to have to figure out how to move out of the way. Offensively, they look to be running a triple-option type game that we will have to be disciplined and do our job against - or it could be a long night for us. They have a good quarterback who can run and throw well and a back who comes out of the backfield that we will have to contain. We need to finish drives offensively. We beat Seymour in almost every category this past Friday, except the one that matters. The score. And that is a direct reflection of our offense not being able to finish. We also must hold on to the football this week. We need to keep our defense off the field. We have a good group of seniors who have played a lot of football, so I have no issues with traveling. We will treat it like any other game, just this time we are playing on another field."