Dayton Gresham

Dayton Gresham looks for running room in the backfield Friday night in Madison County's loss to Sandy Creek

TYRONE - Madison County’s 2019 football season ended Friday night at the hands of the Sandy Creek Patriots.

Instead of dwelling on the 41-7 loss in the Class AAAA state semifinals, head coach Chris Smith was quick to remind his team of its unprecedented success and all the doubters it silenced through the postseason.

“These last few weeks we played some unbelievable football,” Smith said. “This group came together and did some really good things. We got some excitement going and were able to do some things that have never been done around here before and I’m very proud of that.

“Tonight, we played one of the very best teams in the state. They’re probably going to be in the (state championship game).”

He also bragged on a senior class who are one of the few in school history to make multiple state playoff trips.

“Only a few other classes have had two trips to the state playoffs. They had an opportunity to go twice and it's a testament to their hard work,” he said. “They’ve done some amazing things as they’ve come up through the youth league and the middle school and now through high school. I always told them they were a special group and they proved it. I never had to worry about them coming to work and doing what they were supposed to do. They were going to get after it.

“I think we’re starting to realize we can compete with anybody we line up with on a Friday night. As of what the senior class has left us with, they’ve left this program in a good shape and we’ve got to continue to work on that.”

The game itself was never in doubt, Sandy Creek (12-1, 5-1 Region 5-AAAA) led 41-0 before Madison County (6-7, 1-3 Region 8-AAAA) scored its first touchdown, but the Red Raiders showed signs of life on defense in the second quarter and made the game interesting for a while.

After the Patriots cruised downfield for touchdowns on their first two drives, they again drove deep into Red Raider territory on their third time out. But a sack by the Madison County defense forced a 40-yard field goal which Sandy Creek failed to convert, holding the score at 14-0.

Sandy Creek’s next possession had an even worse result. On its first play, Tyler Wright had quarterback Matthew Williams stopped deep in the backfield. Williams tried to throw the ball away to avoid the sack, but Kiya Hubbard intercepted the throw and fell down at the Patriots’ 33-yard-line.

However, Madison County’s offense couldn’t produce any points with the good field position. Sandy Creek relied more on its running game for the rest of the second quarter and entered halftime with a 28-0 lead. The Patriots scored twice in the third quarter to extend the lead to 41-0.

Madison County scored its only points on a 67-yard drive in the fourth quarter. With 6:44 left in the game, Colby Smith connected with Martavian Cooper on a nine-yard pass towards the front pylon for a touchdown. The final score was 41-7.

“I’m very proud of our kids, we battled, didn’t give up,” Smith said. “One of the things about these young men, even when they got behind, they didn’t give up. That’s what it’s all about, that’s all I ask out of them.”

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