WINDER - Christian Davila passed for 193 yards and two touchdowns and Erin Hendricks blocked a punt for a safety, but it was too little to keep Winder-Barrow from losing to visiting Madison County, 35-29, in a Region 8-AAAA game Friday night.
Though the fourth straight loss to Madison, this one wasn't by the average of 27 points the previous three had been. And of emotional importance was scoring more than the touchdown Winder-Barrow had in each of the previous three matchups against Madison, instead even leading in the late moments.
"We've talked about playing with a heightened sense of urgency," Winder-Barrow coach Ben Corley said of his Bulldoggs vying for their first winning season in six years and improvement over last year's 1-9 season. "We've got to be focused and intense every snap."
The Bulldoggs (0-1, 0-1) hung with the Red Raiders (1-1, 1-1) until the 11th hour and even led, 29-28, on Kendrick Davis' 46-yard TD run with 5:37 remaining. But Madison turned the tables in Winder-Barrow's opener, as quarterback Jacob Owens snuck a yard with 1:05 to go for the victory.
"They're doing the same stuff, just more efficiently and effectively," Madison coach Randell Owens said of the Bulldoggs. "They've got a lot of weapons they're using pretty well."
Davila kept Winder-Barrow in the game with his passing, including a 46-yard scoring bomb to Trent Demeritte on fourth-and-3, which tied the game 7-7 with 5:35 left in the first quarter. He also targeted Demeritte on a 58-yarder that set up a 7-yard TD toss to Tyler Coleman to come within 28-22 with 7:55 remaining.
Down 28-16 after Madison's Patrick McCrary's 77-yard TD reception less than a minute into the fourth quarter, the Bulldoggs mounted an improbable rally that nearly won. After Davila found Coleman for a score, Davis' run put the Bulldoggs narrowly in control.
But ultimately, the Bulldogs couldn't stop the Madison quarterback from plodding into the end zone on his second sneak attempt from a yard out.