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September 13, 2013
GAINESVILLE - Five first downs. That's all the Gainesville Hurricanes managed on offense Friday night at Citizens Field against the Madison County Cowboys.
But two big plays in the fourth quarter is all Gainesville needed to slip past the Cowboys 20-12 to improve to 2-1 on the season.
Tony James took a handoff on the second play of the fourth quarter 93 yards to the endzone to give Gainesville a 13-12 lead. Then after a couple of punts, Madison County started a drive midway through the quarter that made it to the Hurricanes 2 yard line with 2:30 left.
On fourth and 1, Madison County coach Mike Coe sent out kicker Zach Money to attempt a short field goal to give the Cowboys the lead. But the snap was bobbled by the holder and picked up by Gainesville's Ahmad Ivey, who returned it 91 yards for a touchdown to clinch the game for the Hurricanes. Madison County also had another field goal try end in the first quarter on a bad snap over the holders head.
Madison County (1-2) ended up with 15 first downs to Gainesville's 5 and outgained the Hurricanes by over 100 yards. The Cowboys also recovered two Gainesville fumbles that the Cowboys turned into all 12 of their points. But the bad field goal snap and a couple of other special teams miscues plus Gainesville big plays spelled a tough loss for Madison County.
The game was scoreless until late in the second quarter, as Madison County's Eric Bright ran in from 4 yards out to cap a 46 yard drive set up by a Gainesville fumble by Dontarian Evans. Madison County then faked the extra point, but Money overthrew Ladarius Robinson on the two point try.
On the ensuing kickoff, Madison County tried a squib kick and Gainesville fell on it on their 46 yard line. Gainesville sophomore quarterback Caelen Christian hit senior wide receiver Kenric Young for a 35 yard gain down to the Cowboys 15 yard line.
After a pass interference on Madison County in the end zone, Christian hit Young with a 7 yard touchdown strike to give Gainesville a 7-6 halftime lead.
The only score of the third quarter belonged to Madison County, as Bright ran in for his second TD from 12 yards out to give the Cowboys a 12-7 lead with 7:47 left in the quarter. The two point attempt was no good, and Madison County carried the five point lead into the fourth quarter.
That fourth quarter belonged to the Hurricanes, who have won two in a row after a 49-7 loss at Lake City Columbia in their opening game. Gainesville, the Class 6A state runner-up last year, has beaten Madison County two of the last three years, including a 14-9 win at Boot Hill last season. The Cowboys, now in 4A, were the 3A state runners-up the last two years. For Gainesville first-year head coach Mark Latsko, this was a satisfying win.
"It wasn't pretty, but we did what we had to do and the defense really did the job when they needed to," Latsko said. "After our first game we're just happy to beat our rival in (Gainesville) Eastside and a fine team like Madison County as we head into district play."
James led Gainesville with 118 yards rushing and the long touchdown run. Gainesville heads to Lake Weir to open district play next week. Bright rushed for 124 yards and the two TD's on the ground for Madison County, who heads back home next week for a tough matchup with Jacksonville Trinity Christian.