Sun, Dec 12, 2021 12:06 PM
Madison County Cowboys Capture Florida's Class 1A State Championship for 4th Time in Last 5 Years
IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME: Madison County DB Tyrece Pryor blocks the punt with his helmet to give his Cowboys the ball at the 2 and game winning score. [Photo Credit: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]
TALLAHASSEE -- A win for a team means that they have one or more points than their opponent at the conclusion of the contest. And that's exactly what it took, one point, for Madison County to squeak past a good Hawthorne team 13-12 to claim the 2021 Class 1A State Championship before a crowd of more than 3,474 spectators at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee.
Madison County did just enough to capitalize off of Hawthorne's mental errors to capture the Cowboys' 6th Football State Championship in school history. In a game laden with penalties, it wasn't pretty, at times downright ugly, but in the end, now written in stone in Florida's annals of state champions, the small school in Big Bend's Madison County continues to bolster its claim as Florida's best all-time dynastic small class powerhouse to play on Florida's gridiron.
In a game where Hawthorne seemed to have control, a few key plays on special teams opportunities proved fatal to Hawthorne's quest for the Hornets' 1st football State Championship in school history. The inability to score on 2 two-point conversions, and an errant low hike during a punt which was eventually blocked and returned to Hawthorne's two-yard line by Madison County DB Tyrece Pryor proved to be the key capitalization factors in Madison County prevailing as the Class 1A State Champion.
Hawthorne has come up short in back-to-back state final appearances. Hornets' Head Coach Cornelius Ingram has done a great job with this Hawthorne program, with an undefeated regular season.
4-time State Championship Head Coach of Madison County
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP FAMILY: From left to right: Bray Coe, 4x State Champion Head Coach Mike Coe, 3x State Champion OL Zac Coe [Photo Credit: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]
HC Mike Coe is now one of several coveted head coaches who have coached multiple sons to State Championship Wins... Coe now has two sons to win State Championships, with his elder son Zac winning 3 State Championship titles as a Center for the Cowboys between 2017 and 2019, and now Bray Coe who has won his 1st State Championship playing for his father. Another member of this coveted State Championship with State Champions sons would be Florida gridiron coaching LEGEND Tim "Ice" Harris, whose sons Brandon (2007) and Treon (2012, 2013) both won state championship trophies.
Madison County now has 6 State Championship Wins in 11 State Final Appearances, and has won 4 out of the last 5 Class 1A State Championships in Florida. Cowboy's HC Mike Coe is now 4-2 in the Big Game.
On a beautiful Saturday night in Florida's capital, Hawthorne entered the contest undefeated. By the early 2nd quarter, the Hornets put the first 6 on the scoreboard first with a Tyler Jefferson rush for 31 yards. Hawthorne attempted a 2pt conversion, but the Hornets' efforts were thwarted by Madison County, making the score 6-0 with 7:38 in the 2nd quarter.
Madison County would respond with the Cowboys marching down the field on a 10 play, 77-yard drive, ending with a 9 yard TD pass to Delvin Boatman from Jamie Hampton. The Cowboys kicked a PAT, and took the lead 7-6 with 2:42 left in the 1st half.
The Hornets would quickly roundup to quick strike before halftime. Propelled by a 15 yard personal foul on Madison County, and a 32-yard completion from Jefferson to Cohen, Hawthorne found themselves in the redzone at the Cowboys' 10. Tyler Jefferson scooted for a 10-yard TD run to place Hawthorne up 12-7 before the half, with the Hornets' once again opting for the 2 points and not converting.
Madison County would open the 2nd half with the ball. But the third quarter was nasty football, marred by 12 penalties during the quarter.
PHOTO: Madison County DB Akins interception, one he returned back 75 yards. (TD was called back due to penalty) -- [Photo Credit: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]
One bright spot of the 3rd quarter was Madison County DB Akins interception, one he returned back 75 yards back for a supposed score, only to be brought back for a block in the back. No points were scored in the 3rd quarter... "Four Fingers Up"; if Madison County was to pull it off, they had 12 minutes remaining in Florida's Class 2A State Championship to reverse the tide.
Football 101: Coach would say the team that makes the least mental errors will win the game.
The first drive of the fourth quarter proved to have the play of the game. Madison held strong and forced the Hornets to punt. On 4th and 13, the Hornets center delivered a skipped hike to punter Josues Knapp, from which he tried to get control and punt, only to punt directly into the helmet of Madison County defender Tyrece Pryor. The punt ricocheted, Pryor scooped up the live ball and advanced the ball before being tackled from behind at the 2-yard line. This was the play that Madison County needed, and they capitalized, being in the perfect position to turn the tide and bring out the heart of a tested champion.
One play later and six seconds off the clock, Cowboys QB Jamie Hampton took it through the gap to put his team up 13-12 with 7:59 left in the game. Football analytics called for the Cowboys to attempt a 2pt conversion, but the attempt failed.
With momentum clearly siding with Madison County, the Cowboys forced a 3 and out. The Cowboys' focus was to milk the clock... and they just that, gaining 2 first downs in 7 plays allowing 5 minutes and 45 seconds to elapse.
The Hornets would have 0:48 from their own 15-yard line to try to get a touchdown or at least in FG position. (Note, the Hornets had not attempted a FG or kicking PAT all game.) After a few errant incomplete passes, Madison County was penalized for pass interference, gifting Hawthorne 15 yards advance to their own 30. Jefferson would complete a 12 yard pass to Cohen on 3rd down to keep hope alive with only a few ticks left. After holding firm for 2 incomplete passes, the Madison County Cowboys would become Florida's 2021 FHSAA Class 1A State Champions.
As the teams shook hands, the fireworks lit up the sky in Tallahassee. The booms, the cheers, the laughter, the cries... the emotions of being in the biggest game of your life. Madison County fought through adversity all season long, only to become battle-tested in a variety of situations all season long, to prevail during the latest hour, ultimately to remount as King of Class 1A.
-Hawthorne QB Tyler Jefferson finished the game with a game-high 105 yards on 19 rushing attempts, with touchdown runs of 31 yards and 10 yards in the 2nd quarter.
-Madison County Akins had 2 interceptions in the State Championship Game
Madison County Cowboys
Official 2021 State Championship Game Page on Florida Gridiron
MORE RELATED LINKS
2021 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
2021 Class 1A Playoff Brackets
2021 FHSAA Final RPI Rankings
Madison County Cowboys Team Hub
Big Bend Area
Hawthorne Hornets Team Hub
North Central Area
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