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Madison County opened its 2014 football season in fine fashion Friday night defeating Johnson of Gainesville 31-3 before a packed house at Red Raider Stadium.
The team entered the stadium from their new field house, passing by a brand new statue that was unveiled prior to the players Friday afternoon. In their new uniforms and playing in the shadow of their brand new school, the Red Raiders put on a show for the Madison County faithful.
“You’re playing for something out here with all this new stuff,” said Red Raider senior lineman Christian Shupe. “It really gets everybody pumped up — fans, cheerleaders, football players, coaches, everybody’s pumped up. And I can’t say anything more than pride in what we’re playing for.”
Ethan South got things started for Madison County with a 50-yard touchdown run on the Red Raiders’ second possession. Levi Larkins was good on the extra point and the Red Raiders led 7-0.
Later in the opening quarter, Dylan Gentry fell on a Johnson fumble at the Knights’ six-yard line, setting up a 25-yard field goal by Larkins several plays later.
On Johnson’s ensuing drive, Sam Bartlett recovered a fumble at the Knights’ 33-yard line and nearly scored after racing to the one-yard line.
“I saw the ball come out of the quarterback’s arm and it fell right into my hands,” said Bartlett. “I almost got it into the end zone but got pulled down at the one yard line. I actually have a minor ankle sprain so I was kind of hobbling towards the end zone.”
Bartlett’s fumble recovery set up the Raiders’ second touchdown that came on a one-yard run by KJ Burton. Quarterback Cade Hancock then supplied two more scores on touchdown passes to Malik Freeman on a 37-yard play in the second quarter and added another touchdown pass to Dylan Gentry from 14 yards out in the third quarter to give the Raiders a 31-0 lead. Johnson posted their only points of the night on a 36-yard field goal late in the final period.
“The first win feels great,” said Shupe. “Obviously, we came in with the mentality that we were expecting to win. This game is definitely one for the record books, but we’re looking toward next week now — and then the next win and the next win. We’re just going to take it one by one and step by step.”
Madison County will travel to Jefferson next Friday to take on Jackson County at 7:30 p.m.
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