TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Madison County High Cowboys are state champions!
The Cowboys won the school's first football title by scoring late to beat Clewiston, 21-14, in claiming the 2A title Friday at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Marquis Powell's 19-yard touchdown run with a minute left was the game-winner.
"It's unreal. I told them that I've been crying for three years and the only tears I'd be crying today were tears of joy," Cowboy defensive back/ half back Mikhal Kornegay said. "We trusted in each other, had faith in ourselves and we knew that God would bring us through."
After the Tigers (13-2) knotted the score at 14-14 with 3:44 to play, completing a comeback from a two-touchdown deficit, the Cowboys (12-2) had one of two directions to go.
They could either sit on the ball and go to overtime or drive down the field to win.
Madison County chose the latter, methodically driving 67 yards on six plays to take the 21-14 advantage with one minute showing on the clock.
"We just had kids that wouldn't quit and made made plays. I thought we were going to kick a field goal to win it down there but we had kid break with Marquis Powell," Madison County head coach Randy McPherson said.
Powell, who had carried the ball a four times for 18 yards, caught the Tigers off guard as the drive began from the MCHS 33.
Powell got the ball on the first two plays, running for 7 on the first and 10 on the second to give the Cowboys a first down from midfield.
After a pass interference call advanced the ball to the 35, Madison went to Torrance Washington who like Powell, confused Clewiston's defense.
The senior fullback gained 5, 4 and 7 yards on the following three plays to give the Cowboys first and 10 at the 19 with 1:05 remaining.
The droves of Madison countians didn't wait long to celebrate. The Cowboys went back to Powell, giving him the hand off around the right side.
Nineteen yards later, the Cowboys were on top. Drazen Jurjevick's kick made it 21-14.
Powell ended the day with 54 yards on 7 carries.
"I just saw a white goal line and I just went as fast as I could for it," Powell said.
The Tigers had one last shot at putting together a dramatic drive of their own, but four Thomas Barnes passes fell incomplete.
Clewsiton trailed 14-0 at the half, but it wasn't long until it showed why it made it this far.
With 5:13 to go in the third quarter, the Tigers put themselves back in the game when Quorey Payne returned a Chris Livingston punt 93 yards for a touchdown.
Carlos Rubio's kick made cut the margin in half, 14-7.
After Payne's heroics, then it was the defensive showcase which dominated the contest again.
Clewiston was held to 146 yards while the Cowboys amounted 215 while also intercepting three passes.
Mikhal Kornegay, Ranardrick Phillips and Brian Hampton snagged the interceptions for MCHS.
"We play defense first in Madison, there's no doubt about it," McPherson said. "Kids in Madison County, they don't wanna play running back, they don't wanna play quarterback. They wanna play defense."
But the Tigers wouldn't easily give up a chance to tie the score. After a Madison County personal foul but the football past midfield, Clewiston drove 46 yards on five plays to the end zone. The scoring play came on second-and-8 from the Cowboy 26 as Barnes hit Stephen Easdale in the end zone.
Barnes was 7-of-21 for 70 yards with one touchdown to go with the three interceptions.
After the two teams exchanged possessions to open the game, the Cowboys took control of the game as they wore down the Tigers in embarking on a 14 play, 80 yard drive that covered 6:54.
Torrance Washington culminated the drive with a 1-yard plunge with 1:08 to go in the first.
The Cowboys' ability to control the ball was imminent throughout as they held the ball for 31 of the 48 minutes.
Up 7-0 in the second, the Cowboys pulled off one of their patented turnovers to set up points.
On a third down play from their own 25, Barnes' pass was intercepted by Kornegay at the 36.
An 11-yard return by Kornegay compounded with a 15-yard fac
e mask penalty put the MCHS at the CHS 12.
The Cowboys wasted little time with Shawn Davis scoring on a 12-yard keeper around the left side for a two-touchdown lead with 8:06 left in the first half.
Davis was the Cowboys' leading rusher with 67 yards on eight carries.
- Teen shot in Melrose Drive incident
- Grand jury drops murder charge against woman in Valdosta shooting
- Valdosta man dies in motorcycle wreck
- Police: Man killed in collision
- VSU student killed in Berrien accident
- Valdosta man indicted in fatal shooting
- GBI seeks help in Berrien death case
- From teaching to nursing: Graduate proves it's never too late to try something new
- Lowndes quarantines more than 40 students
- For Black farmers, new promises come with old scars