By Marty Kirkland
MADISON, Fla. -- Frankie Carroll isn't the only football coach who talks about wanting to see his team improve on a weekly basis, but he's among the few whose team checks off that goal quite regularly.
For the second week in a row, Carroll's Madison County Cowboys needed just a single half to put away their opponent as they rolled over visiting Wakulla, 42-9, Friday night at Boot Hill Stadium in the second round of the FHSAA Class 2A playoffs.
As the champion of Region 1, the Cowboys will host the winner of Friday's game between Bradford and Tavares.
The victory was Madison County's second in a month over the War Eagles, a district rival expected by some to bring a tougher challenge this time around.
But the War Eagles, with the exception of a few big plays, looked like less of a threat.
"We don't believe in that," Cowboys linebacker Eugene Hayes said. "If we play you a second time, we're just going to come at you harder. We played the same ball, we played our ball."
Always an aggressive team, the Cowboys seemed even more so Friday night.
With a 30-9 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the first half, following a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brian Peacock to Vincent Lee, the Cowboys kicked off to Wakulla. But the War Eagles fumbled deep in their own territory and Madison County senior Broderick Blue came up with the football.
On the first play of that possession, Desmond Gee cut through the Wakulla defense for a 17-yard touchdown run, his third of the game, to stretch the lead by six points.
The Cowboys recovered an onside kickoff following the touchdown and, just two plays later, celebrated in the end zone once again -- this time on Peacock's second touchdown pass, a 51-yard deep toss to Fred Johnson.
"That's the way our kids like to play in practice," Carroll said. "They practice about the same way against each other. Our kids love to be aggressive, with a lot of enthusiasm, and it carries over to the game."
Gee rushed for 155 yards on 10 carries, including touchdown runs of 24 and 55 yards in the first quarter. Prior to the game, the junior running back had vowed to dedicate his effort to his mother, who passed away earlier this week.
"I really can't describe him," Carroll said of Gee. "I've never been around a kid that loves his team the way he does ... his mom really loved Cowboy football and she would have wanted him to play."
Johnson added 75 yards on 11 carries, along with two catches for 76 yards. Peacock completed 5-of-7 passes for 87 yards and ran for a seven-yard score in the second quarter.
The closest the War Eagles came was early in the second when they moved inside the Cowboys' 10-yard line but were pushed back into settling for a 25-yard field goal by Matt Nolan, cutting the lead to 16-3. Their lone touchdown came on a 14-yard pass from Tanner Jones to Mike Montague midway through the second quarter.
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