MADISON, MS (WLBT) - A once young Madison Central team is all grown up.
“We have a lot of 10th graders that get to play, and now they’ve got 12 games under their belt,” says head coach Anthony Hart. “So they’re not longer 10th graders. We feel like they’re juniors now. They’re not young anymore. They’ve been through the fire. They’re ready.”
Their 12th ballgame was last Friday night, a dominant performance by the Jaguars in a 1st round playoff victory over Oxford. Their 13th game will be the 6A north half semifinals, and a rematch with rival Northwest Rankin.
“A lot of smack-talking,” senior safety Peyton Rea told WLBT about the rivalry with Northwest. “That’s fun, just getting after it. Everybody’s hitting each other as hard as they can every play.”
“It’s become a real physical battle," says senior linebacker Bailen Haynie about games against the rival Cougars. “We’re going to them all four quarters and they’re going to give us all four quarters. All they got, all we got.”
Madison likely thought they had round one with Northwest Rankin, but watched a two-score halftime lead disappear. The Cougars rallied to win 32-28, and celebrated a district title on the Jaguars' homefield.
“We felt like we made some mistakes the first time we played them,” says Hart. “But they helped us make those mistakes. We’ve just got to clean up some things on our side and be ready to play come Friday.”
“We’ve just got to come out here and play a full game,” says Rea. “We can’t let off. Gotta keep competing.”
The rematch is Friday night at Northwest Rankin. The visitors expect to play in front of a raucous crowd.
“It’s going to be wild,” says Haynie. “It’s going to be a lot of people there. It’s going to be fun, real fun.”
WLBT and Fox 40 will have live previews at Northwest Rankin Friday at 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00. Tune in to the End Zone during the WLBT News at 10 for highlights and a live report from Chuck Stinson. Then, Chuck has a full recap on the Fox 40 SportsDeck at 11.