- Madison County, Florida. Written By: Wes Trotta & Kevin Smalls
This past Friday night, the FloridaHSFootball.com No. 3—ranked Columbia Tigers defeated the Madison County Cowboys, 32-21—making it the first time the Tigers have ever won at Boot Hill Stadium.
The victory did not come easy, as the Cowboys gave the Tigers everything they could handle in the first half.
Trailing at halftime was something the Tigers haven’t had to deal with all season, but they did tonight.
“We staple our program on the finish, part,” Tigers head coach Brian Allen, said. “It’s not how you start the race, it’s how you finish the race."
However, the Tigers managed to get on the board, first.
Early in the first quarter, Tigers quarterback Jordan Smith showed his ability to keep a play alive by being evasive in the backfield before launching a deep ball to Junior receiver Tray Tolliver. Tolliver went over the defender to make to the tough catch and picked up a few more yards before being dragged down.
This big play setup a touchdown run for receiver Lanadrick Bradley to put the Tigers up 7-0, early. Long pass plays were the key to this team’s success.
“I’m grateful,” Smith added. “Without those guys, the offense doesn’t go.”
Smith wasn’t wrong. The Tigers offense seemed one dimensional in the first half, but not nearly as one dimensional as the Cowboys offense.
The Cowboys offensive game plan was simple. Run behind an o-line that consists of some seriously large and powerful players. They did that to perfection in the first half. Whether it was the quarterback, Vinsonta Allen, or their bruising running back, Robert Hiers, one of them was going to run the ball.
Stopping the run seemed like a distant pipe dream for coach Allen and his defense as the Cowboys rolled into halftime with 21-13 lead.
While the Cowboys ground and pound was working, the defense also stepped up by forcing a couple turnovers and a huge goal line stand before halftime.
Trailing by eight, the Tigers defense came out of halftime like a completely new team.
“We had to make a lot of adjustments and put the right guys in the right position in the right time,” linebacker Le’Vontae Camiel said. “I trust them on every play.”
Camiel trusted his teammates to make plays in the second half. That’s exactly what they did as the Tigers stifled the run game and shutout the Cowboys in the second half. “I told the guys,” Camiel added, “We’re going to make this place our crib.”
With Camiel and the defense stepping up, the offense just needed to do their part. “We went through some adversity in the first half.” Smith said about trailing at halftime,” we never played from behind all season, that’s a test. We can play from behind. We can score fast.”
Smith was quick to credit the defense for the opportunity, “If the defense gives us the ball, were going to put it in the end zone.” That’s exactly what the Tigers did in the second half.
One player that stood out in the second half was speedy receiver Marquez Bell. He provided a much-needed spark for this offense. When the ball got in his hands, good things happened. He scored two touchdowns in the second half, both involved him covering a lot of ground after the catch.
Smith and the Tigers offense was capable of scoring at any moment, and a large part has to with his receivers, like Bell.
“We came out in the second half and were clicking on all cylinders,” Smith said about the team’s ability to overcome adversity.
The second half had three scoring plays, two to Bell and one to Bradley. With the defense shutting down the Cowboys ground attack, the Tigers were able leave with a 32-21 win and remain undefeated at 6-0.
Now, they can breathe a little.
“We came to Boot Hill and did something that hasn’t been done in a minute.” Camiel added.
Coach Allen understands what his team accomplished but knows there is a lot to be done.
“(We’ll) use this game as a momentum builder going into next game.”
Players Of The Game
Marquez Bell: Two Touchdown Receptions
Lanadrick Bradley: Two Touchdown Receptions, One Touchdown Run
These two receivers consistently made plays when it mattered. Combining for the teams five touchdowns. Bradley may have had one more touchdown, but not enough can be said about Bell’s big play ability and contributions on special teams.