Senior cornerback has two interceptions to key Rams victory

Havelock senior cornerback Dominick Madden said the Rams started a bit sluggish defensively in their first-round playoff game against Burlington Williams.

He helped change that with two interceptions in the second half that led to touchdowns as the Rams pulled away for a 42-14 victory against the Bulldogs.

“I think we started off really slow, but after the talk at halftime, the coaches boosted our momentum and basically let us know that we’re Havelock,” Madden said. “And, then we came out and played like we’re Havelock.”

Madden admitted to being part of the problem, saying he blew a coverage in the first half that ended with the third-seeded Rams (11-1) tied with the sixth-seeded Bulldogs (6-6).

“I let a receiver out of my eyesight, and he caught a pass, but that was the only one,” he said.

And, he said the coaches let the defense know at halftime that its performance needed improvement.

“We had to correct our scheme. We weren’t playing it correctly,” Madden said. “The talk boosted our momentum, and we came out and played the scheme like we’re supposed to play the scheme.”

That included tighter coverage on the outside receivers that resulted in the first of Madden’s interceptions. With the Rams leading 21-14 midway through the third quarter, Madden read an out route, cut in front of Williams receiver Shawn Whitter and made a diving interception.

Havelock quarterback Corey Cooper converted the turnover into points with an 18-yard touchdown run for a 28-14 Rams lead with 2:09 left in the third quarter.

Madden’s interception with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter all but sealed the game and set up Montrece Gatling’s 9-yard touchdown run that gave the Rams a 42-14 lead with just four minutes left in the game.

Madden (5-foot-9, 165 pounds) is enjoying a successful senior season with 27 total tackles, including two for loss. He leads the team with four interceptions and also has three fumble recoveries and eight pass break-ups.

“I’m just trying to help my team,” he said. “That’s all I’m trying to do. We’ve got to make it to states. That’s the goal.”