The Tigers (7-4) started with a 3-0 lead after Anderson Jacks hit a 20-yard field goal, but that would be the last kick of the game by Jacks, who was injured on the game’s opening kickoff and showed clear signs of pain on the field goal attempt.
“When he tried the field goal, he just barely got it across because he was in so much pain,” Cleburne County coach Michael Shortt said. “The next three possessions we had it in the red zone, but we didn’t have a kicker and had to go for it every time.”
While Cleburne County tried to find the end zone, Madison County (8-3) did on a 1-yard run by Brandon Gurley.
The home team would take a 7-3 lead into the half, but Cleburne County came out of the break on a mission.
Trey Bolton gave Cleburne County the lead with a 49-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter and extended the lead to 17-7 with a 5-yard score in the fourth.
Madison County put together a comeback, scoring with 3:55 left in the game and in the final minutes traveling to the Cleburne County 39-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
“We probably lost 12 to 15 points that we could have had,” Shortt said. “But you can’t say enough about the defense in the second half and offensively the team just rose to the occasion.”
Bolton finished with 232 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries. Cleburne County will face Central-Florence at home in the second round next week.
“I’m just proud of them because, again, we faced adversity tonight and they found a way to come through it,” Shortt said. “It was big for us to be able to win tonight, especially with as much as we’ve been through the past four weeks with injuries.”