STANARDSVILLE — Wade Fox was in elementary school the last time the Madison County football team celebrated a victory over rival William Monroe.
The junior quarterback gave fans plenty to cheer about Friday night as he rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers to a 26-24 win over the Greene Dragons at Martin Mooney Field that snapped a seven-game losing streak to their neighboring county rivals.
“This was a team win,” Fox said. “I can’t thank my team enough. That was insane. For Coach [Larry Helmick] to get his first win. It’s emotional. That’s the first win against them in seven [games] and the first win of the season, I’m at a loss for words right now.”
William Monroe got on the board first after Bryce Hoffman scampered 44 yards to set up a 29-yard field goal from Kameron Ward to give the Greene Dragons a 3-0 lead with 8:21 left in first quarter.
Madison County countered in the second after cashing in on a forced fumble from its defense. Following the turnover, the Mountaineers embarked on a 70-yard scoring drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run from Demetrius Walker. The extra point was no good and the Mountaineers led 6-3 with 6:13 left in the half.
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The Greene Dragons answered with a scoring drive of their own. QB Davien Griffieth hit Shea Jeffers on a slant pattern on 4th and 13 for a 36-yard touchdown to give William Monroe a 10-6 lead with 3:56 left in half.
The Dragons tacked on another score just before halftime when Griffieth found the end zone from four yards out on a naked bootleg to give Monroe a 17-6 lead with 10.9 seconds left in the first half.
Despite the double-digit halftime deficit, Fox had faith in his team.
“We all really just put in the work,” Fox said. “We came out down at halftime, but came out firing and made big plays down the stretch.”
That started on the opening possession of the second half, when Madison drove 80 yards on 17 plays, capped by Fox’s 2-yard touchdown, to close the gap to 17-12 with 2:26 left in the third.
In the fourth, the Mountaineers came up with some special teams magic to regain the lead. Jordan Morris got a hand on Ward’s 32-yard field goal attempt, which landed at the 12-yard line.
Hunter Allen scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 88 yards untouched down the right sideline for the go-ahead touchdown.
“That was my first touchdown ever as a football player,” Allen said. “I saw it drop and didn’t hear a whistle blow and knew it was time to run.”
Fox plowed his way in for the two-point conversion to give Madison a 20-17 lead with 11:30 left.
After its ensuing drive stalled, William Monroe was forced to punt, but caught a break when the punt deflected off a Madison player’s foot. The Greene Dragons recovered to extend the drive.
William Monroe took advantage of the second chance when RB Daelan Powell-Jackson rumbled 31 yards on second and 20 to give the Dragons a 24-20 lead with 7:39 left.
With his team in need of a spark, Fox went to work on the next drive. The junior connected with Taylor Fincham on an 11-yard completion near midfield. After the play, an unsportsmanlike penalty was assessed to William Monroe to move the ball inside the 35-yard line. Four plays later, Fox scored from 20 yards out to give Madison a 26-24 lead with 3:59 left.
“We knew we needed to get a score,” Fox said. “We’d been moving the ball up and down the field and we knew we needed to get a push. They called 14-Bob, which is a power run play, and I saw a seam, saw daylight, hit it, and just celebrated with my teammates.”
William Monroe still had a chance to win the game in the final minutes, but Madison’s defense came up with another turnover when Fincham picked off a Griffieth pass at the Greene Dragons’ 35 and the Mountaineers ran out the clock to put an end to their losing streak and give Helmick his first win as Madison coach.
“We’ve worked really hard,” Helmick said, “it may not have looked like it in the spring, but those boys have put in so much hard work. It paid off tonight. I couldn’t think of a better game for it to pay off against.”