Chiefland’s playoff run came to an end Friday when the Indians fell to visiting Madison County 37-0 in the Class 1A state semifinals.
The past two weeks, Chiefland (11-2) took advantage of its opposition’s mistakes, edging previously undefeated Union County, 29-27, last Friday in the Region 3 Final and beating Lafayette (Mayo) in overtime, 28-27, on Nov. 19 in the Region 3 Semifinal.
“We knew that was going to eventually catch up to us and it did tonight,” Chiefland coach Adam Gore said. “When you’ve got opportunities you’ve got to cash in on them. [Madison] is good when they get a turnover and they score off of it. They get better and they seem to play harder and that’s how the game went early. Hats off to them, they played a good game.”.
The Cowboys (10-3) set the tone early with a 20-yard run on the first play from scrimmage followed by a 24-yard pass on the second play. The drive stalled at the Chiefland 16-yard line and, on 4th-and-12, Madison attempted a field goal that failed. But the Cowboys were bailed out when a Chiefland player hurdled the center and the penalty gave Madison a 4th-and-4 at the 8-yard line. On the next play, Madison quarterback Jaimie Hampton found Jahyren Lee for a touchdown and a Keoni Nelson extra-point kick made it 7-0.
The Indians (11-2) tried to answer on their first drive and advanced to the Madison 6-yard line, but Dylan Cochran’s field goal missed the uprights. Two plays later, Madison’s Tommie House broke through the line and raced 79 yards to score. A missed extra point kick put the score at 13-0.
After both teams traded punts, Chiefland quarterback Clint Thomas passed deep to a wide open receiver, but the ball bounced out of Donovan Minichello’s hands. The Indians would punt two plays later, but Chiefland’s Osten Jones intercepted a pass and returned it to the Madison 45.
“We try to be calculated when we throw and we had shots,” Gore said. “ We had opportunities to score with the passing game, we just didn’t get it done. And whether that be because of them or that be because of us, either way it didn’t happen.”
Chiefland would get to the Madison 30-yard line, but a Dakota Fisher fumble was scooped up by the Cowboys’ Latoris Young and returned 70 yards for a 20-0 Madison lead with 4:37 left in the first half.
“We had our chances there early but then turnovers and stuff like that just kind of got out of hand for us,” Gore said.
In the third quarter, Chiefland turned the ball over on downs at the Madison 33 and the Cowboys took only four plays to drive the field and score on a Hampton 4-yard inside run to put Madison ahead 27-0. They would tack on a 32-yard field goal on the final play of the third quarter for a 30-0 lead and scored once more late in the fourth quarter on a Jaohn Jackson 1-yard run.
The Indians are losing only a handful of seniors to graduation and Gore said the playoffs are the team’s goal every season.
“We’re young,” he said. “Nobody expected us to be where we’re at right now. We’ve got to put in the work in the offseason if we want to get better and that’s really it.”
Madison County will face Hawthorne (10-0), 24-6 winners over Chipley in the other state semifinal game Friday, at 7 p.m. next Saturday at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee for the state championship.
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