CHIEFLAND — In a battle as old as time, a game of Cowboys and Indians resulted in a 37-0 onslaught as the Madison County Cowboys ended the Chiefland Indians' season Friday night.
Madison County (11-3) will meet Hawthorne (10-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee for the Class 1A championship.
The Indians nearly came away with a stop early when the Cowboys missed a 33-yard field goal on 4th-and-13. However, a penalty flag against the Indians after the kick moved Madison County into a 4th-and-manageable situation that prompted coach Mike Coe to send his offense back out on the field.
On 4th-and-5 from the 8-yard line, Madison County's junior quarterback Jamie Hampton connected with senior Delvin Boatman in an uncharacteristic passing score for the Cowboys.
Chiefland saw a short, 40-yard field after a nice return of the kickoff. The Indians marched 34 yards on nine carries from three different ball carriers before the Cowboys stalled the drive, forcing Chiefland to line up for a 23-yard field goal that missed the mark.
The Indians' luck worsened when Madison County senior Tommie House broke free on an 80-yard sprint to the end zone to put the Cowboys ahead 13-0 in the first quarter.
"We knew who they were," Chiefland coach Adam Gore said. "We knew the style they liked to play. When they get a turnover or a special teams touchdown, they seem to get better and play with more confidence out of that."
After House's trip to the end zone, the Cowboys and Indians traded punts before Chiefland received some momentum in the shape of an interception when Hampton was intercepted by freshman Osten Jones.
But the Indians' good fortune ended quickly. Chiefland sophomore Dakota Fisher coughed up the football, which dribbled across the field before being scooped up by Madison County junior Latoris Young, who returned it 70 yards for a touchdown, helping the Cowboys to a 20-0 first-half lead.
"You turn the ball over this late in the season, you're gonna get beat," Coe said. "Because everyone is so good."
Coming out of the locker room, Chiefland continued to see drives stall in Madison County territory.
The Indians' opening possession of the second half ended at the Madison County 32-yard line after Clint Thomas, Chiefland's junior quarterback, tossed a pass that fell incomplete.
The Cowboys were quick to capitalize on the turnover on downs as they marched 69 yards on four plays for a scoring drive that was capped off by a 4-yard touchdown carry from Hampton, helping Madison County to a 27-0 lead.
The drive was highlighted by a 59-yard rush from House, who finished the night with 198 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
"They don't get enough credit," Coe said of the Cowboys' offensive front." And Tommie has gotten better every week. And he played a little bit sick tonight so I'm proud of him, but our O-Line deserves a lot of credit."
Down the stretch, the Cowboys went on to tack on 10 more points via a 32-yard field goal from sophomore Keoni Nelson and a 1-yard touchdown rush from junior Jaohn Jackson.
Meanwhile, Madison County continued to stifle the Indians, who averaged 39 points a game heading into Friday night's state semifinal.
"They really make you play with your eyes," Coe said of Chiefland's offense. "I'm really proud of our defense and their eyes."
Friday night's shutout was the third of the season for the Cowboys and the second straight — something Madison County hopes to continue next week as it prepares for a battle with Hawthorne in the Class 1A state championship game.
Next week's state title matchup between the Cowboys and Hornets will be a rematch of last season's semifinal matchup, when the Hornets eliminated the Cowboys 18-14.
"Nobody will be picking us to win," Coe said. "We'll have our work cut out for us, but you just gotta go play. We're gonna show up. I promise you."
Chiefland will now look to build on its 11-2 season, which is quite a turnaround from its 2-7 campaign in 2020.
"I get the easy part," Gore said. "I watch. I didn't really turn around anything. The kids turned it around. They bought in to the fact of playing with a lot of effort, with physicality. And really, truly, that kinda turned us around."
This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Class 1A state semifinal: Madison County rolls past Chiefland