DUNNELLON — Dunnellon outscored Class 1A No. 2 Madison County 35-12 in the final 24 minutes and 20 seconds on Friday at Richard Kennedy Stadium. But the Class 5A seventh-ranked Tigers dug too deep a hole in falling behind 35-0 in the first half, costing them their first loss on the season, a 47-35 defeat to the visiting Cowboys.
Madison County (6-2) scored on its first four possessions to jump to a 27-0 advantage, then added a scoop-and-score with 27 seconds remaining in the opening half to move ahead 35-0.
DHS senior Emmanuel Caballero took the ensuing kickoff back 84 yards to put his Tigers on the board, in the process preventing a running clock in the second half to leave Dunnellon (6-1) some hope.
After falling behind 44-8 in the third, quarterback Trent Townsend and his Tiger offense went to work, tossing touchdown passes on three consecutive possessions to chip away at the margin.
UF commit Jaquavion Fraziers hauled in two of those receiving scores before adding a 60-yard interception return to pull DHS to within 12 with 1:51 remaining. The Cowboys recovered DHS’ ensuing onside kick attempt to essentially seal the game.
Junior Christian Fashaw caught Townsend’s other touchdown pass. Townsend finished 15 for 23 for 158 yards and no interceptions, but lost three fumbles. He added 10 rushes for 56 yards. Caballero had 10 carries for 65 yards.
DHS coach Price Harris lamented his team’s missed tackles and turnovers, but said he was proud of their second-half comeback effort.
“They could have easily just folded and had a running clock, but they bounced back and scored a bunch of points in the second half,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to play a really good football team.”
Madison County is a back-to-back 1A champion whose losses this year were to No. 1 Columbia (7A) and No. 3 Lakewood (4A).
Dunnellon returns to district play next Friday at Lake Weir. The Tigers are 2-0 in 5A-6 action.