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By Dallas Bordon
As the stars shined bright in the sky on a cool fall night, plenty of stars shined on the gridiron at Raider Stadium Friday.
Isabel Edwards was crowned Homecoming Queen and Victoria Tiller was named Princess for Madison County High School. A new Raider mascot was introduced; “Rowdy Raider” made his debut in front of the Homecoming crowd. And there was Ethan South, who had a three-touchdown night in a 28-21 Raider win over Lumpkin County.
South scored on two rushing touchdowns and was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from Cade Hancock.
“I saw the holes in the defense and kept my feet moving,” South said of his three-touchdown night. “I had great blocking ahead and I just kept my head down and feet moving.”
Lumpkin County scored the game’s first touchdown, but the Raiders battled back after South bounced in the end zone from four yards out early in the second quarter.
The point after attempt hit the right upright leaving the score at 7-6 in favor of the Indians. Madison County struck for their second of three touchdowns in the second quarter on a seven-yard run by an outstretched ReShawn Gresham with 5:14 left in the half. Xavier Duncan scored on the two-point conversion to give the Raiders a 14-7 lead. The drive was made possible by a 23-yard run by Sammy Watkins and a 14-yard pass from South to Cameron Stevenson.
The Raiders added a third touchdown with 21 seconds left in the half on a seven-yard touchdown completion from Hancock to South. Duncan played a big role in the scoring drive after his 65-yard run put the Raiders down to the Lumpkin County 15-yard line.
“I just got the ball and coach has been telling me to bounce it wider, and so I did and there was nothing there but a safety and I kind of made a little move and I just kept running,” said Duncan of the long run. “I kind of started cramping at the end.”
With South’s second touchdown, the Raiders took a 21-14 lead at the halftime break.
Lumpkin County tied the game at 21-21 late in the third quarter. South then put the Raiders on top for good after capping off a drive, which featured a 48-yard run by Duncan, with the winning touchdown on a three-yard run with 3:37 left.
“I had good blocking from the linemen and I had Garrison Harris outside and he blocked super hard,” said Duncan of the long run that set up the winning score. “I got to give it all up to them. It was them. I just what the coaches taught me and what we ran all week in practice.”
Lumpkin County had a final possession and attempt to tie the game but the Raider defense stood their ground forcing an incomplete pass on a fourth down attempt with 1:17 left. “Coach said they were going to number 16 (Johnathan Gilreath) each play, but we just stepped up and made plays,” said junior Malik Freeman who had the task of covering Lumpkin’s go-to receiver Gilreath.
With the win, the Raiders improved to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the region. Madison County will travel to Stephens County next Friday night for a 7:30 kickoff.