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Cowboys blank Tigers

Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.

After a defeat at the paws of the Tigers of Columbia County High School a week earlier, the Madison County High School (MCHS) Cowboys were eager for redemption. That redemption came in front of a home crowd on Friday, Sept. 28, when the Cowboys faced the Tigers of Dunnellon High School. The Cowboys took full advantage and rebounded in a big way with a resounding 42-0 victory.

After a weather delay, thanks to some nearby lightning strikes, the Cowboys kicked off to the Tigers. The Cowboys' defensive unit started the game in a stingy mood and never let up as they forced the Tigers into a three-and-out on their first possession. After a punt, the Cowboys had the ball at the 35-yard line. However, a turnover gave the ball right back to the Tigers on the Cowboy 29-yard line. The Tigers moved the ball deeper into Cowboy territory and had a first-and-goal at the five-yard line. The Cowboys stiffened and forced a turnover on downs at the seven-yard line. The Cowboys were able to move the ball out of the shadow of their own end-zone and then Cowboy Quarterback Travis Jay hit Derrion Staten, who turned around the end and fired up his jets to streak down the sideline for 65 yards and into the end-zone for the first Cowboy touchdown of the evening. Tommy Miller's point after touchdown (PAT) kick was good and the score was 7-0 with 5:14 remaining in the opening period. The next Tiger drive ended when Jay intercepted a Tiger pass in the Cowboys' end-zone and moved the ball out to the Cowboys' four-yard line. The Cowboys quickly moved down the field and capped off the drive with another touchdown pass, this time into the hands of Daquarius "DT" Thompkins. Then it was "Miller time," as Cowboy kicker Miller booted another PAT through the uprights. With just 30 ticks left on the clock for the first quarter, the score was 14-0 in favor of the home team. The next Tiger drive ended with Jay's second pic of the game and the Cowboys had the ball near mid-field. The Cowboys again moved the ball down the field and soon had a first-and-goal at the six-yard line. Then, Vinsonta Allen punched the ball over the goal-line for Cowboy touchdown number three. Miller's PAT was good and the score was 21-0, with 8:54 remaining until halftime. The Tigers opened their next drive at the 27-yard line and the Cowboys forced them into reverse. A sack by Marcus Ghent on third-and-long forced a punting situation for the Tigers. Then, on fourth down, a bad snap to the kicker set the stage for Pat Hapton to deliver a devastating hit on the Dunnellon kicker turned runner. The turnover on downs put the Cowboys in easy field position for Jay to jaunt into the end-zone for Cowboy touchdown number four. After Miller's PAT, the score was 28-0 with 7:01 remaining in the first half. The next Dunnellon drive stalled and the Tigers punted to Allen, who fell on the ball. No whistles were blown, so Allen alertly picked the ball up and made his way into the end-zone. A discussion among the officials kept the Cowboy touchdown on the boards and the score was 35-0 with 5:07 remaining until the halftime show. The next Dunnellon drive stalled and the Cowboy offense took over once again. The Cowboys struck quickly on a 61-yard touchdown connection from Jay to Thompkins. The score was 42-0 with time dwindling down in the first half.

The second half moved quickly as the time clock continuously ticked away. With primarily backup players playing for the Cowboys and gaining valuable game experience, neither team made a scoring threat during the third period. The only scoring threat the Tigers could muster in the second half was ended late in the fourth quarter when Tyrique Adams snagged an interception at the Cowboys' 18-yard line. The game ended with the shut-out intact and the Cowboys ahead with a 42-0 final score.

Allen led the Cowboys' ground attack with 122 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Jay had 23 yards on the ground on two carries with one touchdown. In the passing department, Jay went six-for-seven for 194 yards and three touchdowns. Thompkins was named the Offensive Player of the Game for his 100 receiving yards on three catches and two touchdowns. Jay was named the Defensive Player of the Game for his two interceptions and three solo tackles. Octavious Davis was named the Special Teams Player of the Game. Antonio Cox was named the Offensive Hog of the Game. Todd Brown garnered Defensive Hog of the Game honors.

"Last week was tough and our kids bounced back in a major way," said MCHS Head Coach Mike Coe. "I challenged them to go prove that we are who we say we are as a team and as a program, and they did just that! All three phases helped us get the [win] tonight and it was a total team effort. I am really excited and proud of our back-ups and second team guys who got to play the whole second half and kept the shutout intact. Those guys work their tails off and are a huge part of our team and success! We now turn our attention to Homecoming and perennial nemesis Pensacola Catholic."

The Pensacola Catholic Crusaders are coming into the game on Friday, Oct. 5, with a 3-3 record, having lost a 34-30 contest to American Heritage, from Delray Beach, Fla. This is Homecoming for the Cowboys with festivities planned all week long at the various schools around Madison County. The Homecoming Parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct.5. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Boot Hill Stadium, on the MCHS campus.

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