By Rick Patrick (Madison County Carrier)
Greene Publishing, Inc.
One thing that has become very evident this year is that being a Cowboy fan is not for the faint of heart.
This was again proven true as the Madison County High School (MCHS) Cowboys fought back from a 15-point deﬁcit on Friday, Sept. 29, to win the game against the Dunnellon High School (DHS) Tigers, 24-21, on a 32-yard Drew Herring ﬁeld goal in the waning moments of the game.
With the victory, the Cowboys improved to 6-0 on the season.
The game saw former Cowboy player and Head Coach for the DHS Tigers Price Harris coaching against his Alma Mater. Cowboy Head Coach Mike Coe knew he had his hands full as he faced off with his good friend, Coach Harris.
The game began with Dunnellon moving the ball to mid-ﬁeld before their opening drive stalled.
MCHS started their opening drive at their own 35-yard line, but Dunnellon picked off a Tre Adams pass to take over possession of the ball at their own 16-yard line.
Moments later, Cowboy defensive back and Division I prospect, Travis Jay, picked off a Dunnellon pass and set the Cowboys up on their own 31-yard line. The Cowboys moved the ball into Tigers’ territory before turning the ball over on downs at the Dunnellon 13.
The Tigers went three-and-out on their next possession. The Cowboys took the ball and were driving down the ﬁeld when the ﬁrst quarter ended with neither team scoring.
The MCHS drive seemed to stall at the Tigers’ 42, but a successful fake punt gave the Cowboys a fresh set of downs. The Tigers’ defense stiffened and held the Cowboys back, and the Cowboys turned the ball over on downs at the Dunnellon 29-yard line.
The Tigers then moved the ball down the ﬁeld and found themselves with a ﬁrst-and-goal inside the Cowboys’ 5-yard line. The Dunnellon quarterback found an open receiver in the end-zone and tossed a touchdown pass. The successful PAT made the score 7-0 in Dunnellon’s favor with 5:57 left on the clock before halftime.
MCHS began their next drive at the Cowboys’ 35-yard line. The Cowboys’ drive went three-and-out, and the Tigers took over at their own 30.
Then Jay got his second interception of the evening when he picked off a Dunnellon pass and set the Cowboys’ offensive unit up at the 33-yard line. The Cowboys moved the ball down to the Tigers’ 27 before committing another turn-over.
On the next drive, the Cowboys stripped the ball and took over possession at the Dunnellon 40-yard line. The Cowboys were unable to capitalize on the turnover, throwing an interception in the end-zone, giving the ball back to the Tigers.
The ﬁrst half ended with the score 7-0, still in the Tigers’ favor.
The second half started with Dunnellon kicking a squibb kick that bounced off a Cowboy player. Dunnellon recovered the live ball and took over at the 41-yard line. The Tigers then methodically moved the ball inside the Cowboy 10-yard line to set up a ﬁrst and goal at the Cowboy 6.
The Tigers punched the ball across the goal line for their second TD of the evening. The successful PAT made the score 14-0 in the Tigers’ favor with 8:13 remaining in the third quarter.
The Cowboys ﬁnally got on the scoreboard on their next drive when Derrick Staten, Jr. scurried 52 yards down the ﬁeld for the Cowboys’ ﬁrst TD. The PAT drifted wide left and the score was 14-6 with 7:17 left in the third period.
The Tigers quickly struck back, hitting a deep pass to the Cowboys’ 24-yard line. A couple of plays later, the Tigers again had a ﬁrst and goal at the Cowboys’ 5-yard line. Dunnellon then scored their third TD of the evening and the following PAT made the score 21-6, still in favor of the home team.
There was just over three minutes left in the third period when the Cowboys took control.
Teryon Henderson ran down the ﬁeld 30 yards on a nice run for the Cowboys. Then Adams ran 11 yards on a quarterback keeper and scored the second TD for the Cowboys. A successful two-point conversion tightened the score to 21-14, still in the Tigers’ favor with 1:15 still to go in the third quarter.The third period ended with the score 21-14.
Then, like a sleeping giant, the Cowboys’ defense came alive and forced the Tigers into a three-and-out with three straight tackles-for-loss.
On the Cowboys’ next possession, Adams ran 32 yards for another Cowboy TD. Herring’s successful PAT tied the score at 21 with 9:17 remaining in the game.
The Cowboys’ defensive unit continued to play well, stalling the Tigers’ drive at the Tigers’ 30-yard line.
The Cowboys then took the ball to the Tigers’ 11-yard line. The Tigers’ defense held their ground and kept the Cowboys out of the end-zone.
Then Cowboy kicker Herring came onto the ﬁeld to attempt what is every kicker’s dream, a game-winning ﬁeld goal late in the game. The 32-yard kick split the uprights and gave the Cowboys their ﬁrst lead of the game. The score was now 24-21 with 3:12 remaining in the game.
The Tigers moved the ball to mid-ﬁeld before the Cowboys defense stiffened again and forced a turn-over on downs. The Cowboys took over with 43 seconds left and were able to go into the “victory formation” and simply take a knee, cementing a hard earned 24-21 win.
“I thought the kick might drift off to the right, but it stayed straight. It took me a second to realize that I had made the kick. It felt great!” said Cowboy kicker Herring after the game when asked about the game-winning ﬁeld goal.
Herring was named the Special Teams Player of the Game. The Offensive Player of the Game was Teryon Henderson. The Defensive Player of the Game was Monterrious Fleming. The Offensive “Hawg” of the Game was Zane Herring. The Defensive “Hawgs” of the Game were Terray Jones and Laertes Bell.
Coach Coe’s post game comments: “[It was] another big road win from my guys,” said Coach Coe “It’s really tough to play a huge game like Lake City, and then turn around and play another one the next week; but it’s a great lesson for my guys to learn. This is exactly what the playoffs are like. Who can get up every week and play their best? I was very proud of my guys last Friday. It seemed at times like it just wasn’t meant to be. We’d make a big play and then turn it over, or the yellow hankie would be thrown. This team is made up of tough kids who aren’t afraid of the moment! They work hard every day, and I’m proud of them! [The] defense made two big stands in the fourth quarter, and what a job by Drew Herring! I’m so proud of that kid. He struggled early in the season, and he told me, ‘Coach, I’ll get it ﬁgured out,’ and boy has he! He’s such a huge part of our team’s success. So many kids who, like him, work so hard every week. Our back-ups, they do such a great job of getting us ready during the week; I really appreciate them as well.”
Next up for the Cowboys will be another long road trip, this time to Pensacola to take on the Crusaders of Pensacola Catholic High this Friday at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Crusaders have a 1-5 record and are coming off a 27-20 defeat at the hands of American Heritage High School, from Delray Beach, Fl.