Madison County lost in heartbreaking fashion Friday to Stephens County, 19-14, giving up a game-winning 37-yard touchdown pass with just 94 seconds remaining.
The Red Raiders pulled ahead 14-10 in the third quarter thanks to an 11-yard touchdown by Zane Milz, who finished the night with four carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns, but Stephens County answered with a 23-yard field goal and touchdown in the fourth quarter to leave Danielsville with the win.
Madison finished the night with 270 yards rushing after losing quarterback and the team’s leading rusher, Cooper Brown, to a shoulder injury in the first quarter. Camden Smith moved from running back to signal caller, running for 74 yards on 14 carries.
“He did a good job coming in to manage the game after Cooper got hurt,” said Red Raider coach Chris Smith of Camden Smith. “He and Milz are our two home run hitters when we get the ball pitched. You take one of those away when he has to go to quarterback. But he did a good job doing what he was supposed to do Friday night.”
Of course, Milz certainly played the role of home run hitter, showing speed and elusiveness and giving the Red Raiders their first 100-yard effort on just four carries.
“He (Milz) had some really big runs for us,” said Smith. “He also did a good job blocking and played well defensively for us.”
Smith said Victor Hajdu led the way with key blocks on big gainers.
“All the long runs we had, Vic had great blocks on those plays,” he said.
Smith also praised the play of Trey Slayton and Tyler Wright on defense and Ethan Bond on the offensive line.
“He (Bond) consistently grades out with winning grades,” said Smith. “He does his job each and every Friday night.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Stephens County scored on the first play of the second quarter on a nine-yard quarterback keeper.
The yellow flags flew constantly against Stephens County Friday, drawing the ire of the visiting crowd. And Madison County made the Indians pay, getting their first score following a string of penalties by Stephens County that set up the Red Raiders in good field position.
Milz then sprinted toward the sideline in front of the visitors’ bleachers, before cutting back toward the center of the field in a 44-yard jaunt that brought Red Raider fans to their feet and knotted the score at seven with 7:16 to go in the second quarter. He added his second score from 11 yards out on an option pitch to the right with 7:12 to go in the third quarter.
Smith said 4-0 Stephens County is a good team.
“That’s the best team we’ve played,” said Smith, whose squad dropped to 2-1. “That was the first competition where I felt like we had a team that lined up and tried to be as physical as we were. We got some things we’re going to get cleaned up that we talked about yesterday. We do a corrections period before we get out on the field on Mondays.”
He said he was proud of the grit his team showed.
“Our effort was good across the board the entire game,” he said. “I was very proud of the way the kids fought and battled.”
Madison County visits 0-4 Druid Hills, which lost 84-7 last week to Chamblee, Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“They’re going to come out and play and our job is not to look at the film and judge them off the film but each and every Friday night we want to play to our standard, not to somebody else’s,” said Smith. “We’ve got a standard we want to play to and we have to come out and execute at our standard.”