As showers intensified in the second half Friday at Raider Stadium, the turnovers came in droves, too. Madison County gave the ball away six times in the final two quarters in a 19-7 loss to Clarke Central in the season finale.
The Raiders (2-8) ended the year with a seven-game losing streak, giving Madison County its worst record since 1999.
Madison County and Clarke Central (9-1) were tied 7-7 at the half, but Clarke Central came out of the locker room and drove 59 yards for a touchdown to go up 13-7 en route to its ninth win of the season.
Meanwhile, the nightmare just was beginning for Madison County.
The Gladiators then secured an onside kick, recovered two Raider fumbles and then picked off two Madison County passes as the Raiders endured a tumultuous first five minutes to start the second half.
Clarke Central was only able to cash in on one of those turnovers, however, driving 15 yards for a touchdown to go up 19-7 following a Raider fumble on a punt. Gladiator quarterback John Wilson covered the last 13 yards of that short drive, finding the end zone on a quarterback keeper at the 10:00 mark in the third.
Madison County quarterbacks then threw two more interceptions in the fourth quarter as the Raiders lost for the second straight year to the Gladiators.
The Raiders alternated signal callers in the loss, scoring their lone touchdown with senior quarterback Spencer Baird directing a five-play, 90-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter. Baird, playing in his final game as a Raider, carried the ball down to the Gladiators one on a 37-yard keeper and scored one play later to put Madison County up 7-0. Kendrick Butler also had a 37-yard run on the drive.
Jacob Owens did most all the passing for the Raiders while playing through the pain of an injured non-throwing shoulder. Owens completed 15-of-32 passes for 120 yards, but threw three picks.
Madison County actually out-gained Clarke Central (263-252) and picked up more first downs (14-12), but the Gladiators played turnover-free football in securing a no. 2 seed in the playoffs with the victory.
Clarke Central did rack up the penalty yards, however, accumulating 14 flags for 125 yards.
The Raiders honored their seniors Friday on Senior Night. Madison County’s senior class finished with a 22-20 record.
Rushing: Mack 4-55, Butler 2-36, Baird 4-33-1 TD; Johnson 2-14; Owens 4-3, Allen 1-2
Passing: Owens 15-32-3 INT; Baird 0-3-1 INT
Receiving: Johnson 5-40; Mack 3-23; Turner 2-21; Allen 2-19; Young 1-11; Baird 1-; Cooper 1-1