There’s a bit of a bug going around the Madison County football team right now.
But last week’s feel-good victory over Winder-Barrow is doing wonders to treat those symptoms of illness.
The Raiders (1-1), who play Monroe Area Friday, won their first game of the year by overcoming sickness, injuries and a one-point deficit on the scoreboard late to beat Winder-Barrow 35-29.
“It’s probably one of the proudest moments of my career because all of the adversity we had to overcome,” said Raider coach Randell Owens, who himself was feeling under the weather Monday.
Trailing 29-28 with just over a minute left, Presly McKeever intercepted a pass, setting up Jacob Owens’ game-winning score from one-yard out.
Coach Owens praised his players efforts in the face of such odds.
“We had guys who gave all they had,” he said.
It was Madison County’s first win in nearly a calendar year — last season ended with seven straight losses and the Raiders dropped the 2009 opener — but losing streaks are something coach Owens will let those outside the program worry about.
“It’s always exciting to win a game; I don’t really sit around and think about that part of it,” Owens said of snapping the losing skid. “This isn’t last year’s team. We didn’t win it with last year’s team … Every season is a unique deal.”
Madison County returned to the practice field Monday for its traditional 8 a.m. workout on Labor Day to prepare for Monroe Area. Several on the team had to practice through illness.
“We’ve got a lot of people under the weather, like me,” Owens said. “But we don’t have time to lay around.”
Monroe Area is an option-oriented team in its fourth year under Matt Fligg. Owens is preparing for Fligg’s team with caution.
He said it’s hard to know what Fligg, a 17-year head coaching veteran, will pull out of his playbook.
“There’s no telling what he’ll do this week … He’s about as unpredictable as anybody I know,” Owens said.
Monroe Area went 0-10 last year and has lost 12 straight games. But the Purple Hurricanes are plenty dangerous, something evident last week.
Monroe Area played Clarke Central tightly for three and a half quarters last week before losing 21-7.
“Their kids are playing hard,” Owens said. “They’ve got some athletes. They’ve got some weapons.”
As for Madison County, the victory last week seems to have invigorated the team, despite lingering sickness. And the grit it showed last week says a lot about this team, Owens said.
“All I can say is that I’m really proud to be their coach … It just makes you proud to be a part of these guys,” Owens said.