This past Friday was a tough night to be a Monroe Area quarterback.
Not only did Raider safety Bracken Turner pick off three passes, Madison County defenders racked up seven sacks.
Senior Devon Caldwell led the charge with 3.5 sacks and already has five this season in just three games.
"We are really pleased with Devon's progress,” head coach Randell Owens said. “He has put on about thirty pounds of muscle over the last year through a great work ethic in the weight room. He's always had good quickness.”
Caldwell was moved to defensive end during the spring, but learned quickly.
“He took to the position almost immediately and has improved daily under coach Dan Bailey's tutoring,” Owens said.
•Madison County’s defense forced four turnovers against Monroe Area and has totaled eight take-aways in its last two games. The Raider defense is giving up just 10 points per ball game, third best in the region.
•With a 34-0 win over Monroe Area, Madison County has won back-to-back region games by a combined score of 78-7.
“Every game counts. I mean, games like this, you can’t take them lightly,” quarterback Jacob Owens said. “We knew they (Monroe Area) were going to be good athletically, but we knew that they were beatable.”
•It was a tale of two halves for the Raider offense. Madison County was held to 141 total yards and six points in the first half.
“Our receivers weren’t catching balls, the (offensive) line was struggling, I was struggling throwing the ball, missing some passes,” Jacob Owens said.
After regrouping at halftime, the Raiders made some big plays in the passing game, including Owens’ 54-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Cooper and 25-yard scoring strike to Al Allen. Offensively, Madison County worked in its option game into its offensive scheme and rushed for 102 yards in the final two quarters.
“We came out, our line did a whole lot better,” Jacob Owens said. “We hit some open passes, our receivers started catching. We picked it up offensively and we switched it up with some Wing-T.”
•The region is wide-open. Upstart Rockdale County, which won just once last year, continues to lead the 8-AAAA pack at 3-0. Apalachee, who wasn’t even in the region last year, is 2-0.
Madison County finds itself in a three-way long-jam at third with Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central. Randell Owens said that Region 8-AAAA has a reputation of being unpredictable, remembering the 2005 season when four teams tied for second place. “It don’t get no crazier than in 8-AAAA,” Owens said.