Madison’s boys soccer team is headed to state after taking out Highland 3-1 Saturday. Though the game was tied for most of the first half and a good portion of the second, it was never terribly close.

Highland “parked the bus” to slow down Madison’s high-powered offense, meaning the Rams played with all 11 men behind the ball throughout the game.

“We had to try and break it down,” Madison head coach Dan Dummar said. “It took a while.”

Nate Dummar scored the first goal to put the Bobcats up 1-0, then Madison scored on its own goal to even the score.

“We scored on ourselves accidentally,” Dummar said. “It took a lot of wind out of our sails.”

Madison won the coin toss at the beginning of the game and elected to go against the wind. In the second half, playing with the wind helped spark the Bobcat offense.

Cade Chandler broke the tie in the second with a little under 19 minutes to go. He stood up his defender, got free on the far wing and kicked the ball across the goal and into the other side of the net, giving Madison a 2-1 lead.

Mikey Fisher scored the next goal at the 13:33 mark of the second half, putting in a ball from the other side of the goal to make it 3-1.

Madison will open the state tournament against Eagle on Thursday after eliminating the Eagles, 1-0, in the second round of last year’s state tournament.

“We know them fairly well,” Dummar said. “I assume they’re going to be a good team. They generally are. It’s super hard with COVID this year. All the team’s are up and down because they’re missing players. They win and then they lose. It’s really been interesting, but I think Eagle will be a good game for us.”

After taking third in the state tournament last season with a young squad, the Bobcats have big plans for this year’s state tournament.

“I think that we’re better and I think that we plan on doing better than we did last year,” Dummar said. “Last year we took third. This year, we’re going to try and take it. Winning in district is nice — but the ultimate goal is a state championship.”

Highland finished the season with a record of 2-10-1.