The dress rehearsal is over. Now, it’s time for the real show.
Madison County will kick off its 2014 season Friday at home versus Johnson of Gainesville at 7:30 p.m.
Red Raider head coach Chris Smith, whose team is coming off a 4-6 2013 campaign, watched film of Johnson’s scrimmage with East Jackson Friday.
“They definitely did some good things offensively and defensively,” he said. “We’ve got to have a great week of practice to be prepared for them.”
Smith said Johnson, which went 2-8 last year after a 6-4 campaign in 2012, has an option-oriented game.
“It’s kind of like Georgia Southern,” he said. “They run a few wing T plays. The defense will definitely have to play assignment football.”
The coach said the Red Raiders need to control the ground game Friday to be successful.
“We’ve got to work to establish the run this week,” said Smith. “We’ve got to be the aggressors.”
The Raider faithful got a glimpse into the 2014 Red Raider football squad at a scrimmage game in Lexington last Friday night. Madison County performed well in their warm-up by defeating 8-AA Oglethorpe County 34-6.
“I thought we played pretty good,” said Smith. “The defense played really well. We pass blocked offensively well, but we’ve got to get better at run blocking. That’s a focus this week.”
The coach said the depth chart remained “pretty much the same” after the scrimmage.
“A couple of kids moved up the depth charts to the number two spots,” said Smith, who mentioned that Alex Azevedo moved up to a backup spot on the defensive line after a good performance in his first action in full pads this summer. He had missed the summer acclimation period while out of town.
“All the skill kids played really well,” Smith added. “Our quarterbacks played well and did some good things. Christian Shupe played well on both sides of the ball. Jason Baxter did a good job up front.”
Madison County rolled off 20 first half points and the defense held the Patriots off the scoreboard until the 8:23 mark in the fourth quarter when Oglethorpe finally broke the goal line for a touchdown. The Patriot offense didn’t manage to work their way into Raider territory until the 2:32 mark of the third quarter.
The Raiders wasted little time posting points in the blowout. Cade Hancock put the Raiders into Patriot territory with a 36-yard scramble and later found Malik Freeman on a pass play down at the Oglethorpe three yard line. Freeman’s one handed catch in the red zone set up a quarterback keep from Ethan South who crossed the goal line for the Raiders’ first touchdown.
Madison County gained possession early in the second quarter following an interception by Cordelius Lumpkin at the Raider 41 yard line. Several plays later, RaShawn Gresham strolled in on a 10-yard touchdown run giving Madison County a 14-0 lead. South set up the Raiders’ third score of the game after scrambling to the Patriot 33 yard line and followed that run with a 33-yard-touchdown pass to Freeman with 3:00 left until halftime. The point after failed, hitting the left upright, leaving the score at 20-0.
The Raiders added to their lead with 9:02 left in the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run by Cameron Stevenson. South ended the Patriots ensuing drive by falling on a fumble at the Oglethorpe 32-yard line setting up a touchdown pass from David Metts to Sammy Watkins, which increased the lead to 34-0.
The Patriots punched in their only score of the night midway through the fourth quarter for the final score.