Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
When Madison County High School (MCHS) Head Coach Mike Coe sat down for his radio show on Tuesday night the first words out of his mouth were, "We're ready." What could be the biggest game on the Cowboys' schedule is coming up tonight in Lake City against Columbia County High School. As Coach Coe put it, "This is why you play football in Madison County."
Tonight's match pits two undefeated teams and two of the top programs in North Florida. Columbia County is ranked number two in Class 7A, according to the Associated Press (AP). MCHS is ranked number one in Class 1A by the AP.
The two teams are very similar on paper. The Tigers are averaging 43 points per game so far this season while the Cowboys are averaging 40. The Tigers average 91 yards rushing per game and 208.8 yards passing. The Cowboys average 321.3 on the ground and 80.5 yards through the air. Defensively, the Tigers have allowed an average of 16.25 points per game, compared to the Cowboys giving up an average of eight points per game.
Clearly, one big key to the game for the Cowboys will be the play of the defensive front. If the Cowboys are to expect success, they will have to find a way to put pressure on the talented Tiger quarterback, Jordan Smith. As of press time, it remained unclear if Smith will be cleared to play, due to injury. Regardless, Terray Jones, Pat Hampton and company on the Cowboys' defense will need to play up to their usual standards, if not higher, in order to ensure the Cowboys' success. The Cowboys average 4.9 sacks per game and they will need to match that this evening.
"We know the challenge that Lake City presents; they have a tremendous football team and we will have to play a near-perfect ball game to have a chance," said Coach Coe. "I love my team though, they always rise to the challenge and I expect no different from them [tonight]. They've prepared great this week with laser-like focus. This game will help us prepare for possible road games in the playoffs."
The game is set to kickoff tonight, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at Columbia County High School, located at 469 SE Fighting Tiger Dr., in Lake City. The game can be heard on Talk 105.7 FM or online at talk1057.com.