Madison County, Cedar Shoals meet in much-anticipated match-up
Madison County is preparing for Cedar Shoals this week, but the Jaguars have been in the back of the Raiders’ minds a little longer than that.
“Oh yeah,” junior quarterback Jacob Owens said. “This is one we’ve been talking about all summer.”
Madison County and Cedar Shoals — schools located a mere 20 miles apart — will meet for just the fifth time ever Friday in Athens at 7:30 p.m.
Aside from the huge region ramifications of this game, head coach Randell Owens notes the association between the two schools.
“They’re fairly close to us,” Owens said. “It’s kind of somewhat a rivalry in that we know each other so well. Maybe it gets more personal. Then you add the fact that our principal (Dr. Tommy Craft) came from there.”
It’s the first time anyone on the Raider roster will play on Cedar Shoals’ home field, The Jungle.
“This is definitely big,” said junior safety Bracken Turner, who enjoyed a three-interception night last weekend. “If we get past these guys, we’re right on track to win the region.”
Indeed, this is a league key game for both squads, which haven’t played since 2005. Madison County — which won that game 27-13 —and Cedar Shoals enter with identical 2-1 records in region play.
Both are chasing Rockdale County, who leads the region at 3-0. The Bulldogs beat Madison County 25-14 in the season opener. But Madison County has rebounded nicely since that week one loss with blowout wins over Winder-Barrow (44-7) and Monroe Area (34-0).
The Raiders overcame a slow start last Friday to rout the Purple Hurricanes behind four-second half touchdowns. Defensively, Madison County held a foe scoreless for the first time in three years and racked up seven sacks.
“It was a good night, the defense getting the shut out,” Owens said. “Of course, that went a long way (towards confidence). We’re going to need that going into this game.”
The teeth of the Raiders’ schedule begins in earnest this Friday.
Cedar Shoals, now coached by Xarvia Smith, is an aggregate 17-4 the last two seasons, while next week’s foe, Salem, shared the region title last year and has been perhaps the elite program in the region since 2004.
“These next two weeks are going to be big,” said Jacob Owens, who threw for a career-high 212 yards in last week’s win over Monroe Area.
After Salem comes Habersham Central on Oct. 3, which shared last year’s region title with Salem.
Madison County then closes the schedule Loganville (Oct. 10), Heritage (Oct. 17), Apalachee (Oct. 31) and Clarke Central (Nov. 7).
“There’s no easy game on the horizon; Jackson County is gone,” coach Owens said noting the former 8-AAAA school. “There are no weak links left on the road."