WINDER -- Apalachee put together a solid second half by outscoring Madison County 31-0 as the Wildcats rolled to a 45-9 win over the Red Raiders in a Region 8-AAAA game at R. Harold Harrison Stadium.
But it wasn't an easy walk in the park for the entire 48 minutes.
Apalachee held a 14-9 halftime lead and for a team hungry for its first win of the season, that may have seemed like some good news for the Wildcats.
But that wasn't necessarily the case.
Leading 14-3 midway through the second quarter and seemingly in control of the game, Apalachee watched Madison County drive 74 yards in 16 plays with quarterback Trey Burton diving in from a yard out on fourth down with 1:46 left in the half.
So momentum, with Apalachee virtually the entire first half, suddenly shifted to Madison County as the teams hit the locker rooms.
"I told them at halftime that I was running out of things to say," said Apalachee head coach Shane Davis. "We worked hard to get better and we just seemed to keep making mistakes and losing our focus enough to let (Madison County) stay in it. But I'm proud of the way we came out in the second half and put together some drives and made some plays. These guys will work and get better and as a group of coaches and players, we can do that."
In the second half, Apalachee (1-4, 1-4) came out strong and scored 17 points in a seven-minute span to open the third quarter.
In fact, Apalachee had four scoring drives and also got a special-teams touchdown on a punt return in the 31-point second half.
After Christian Vasquez kicked a 21-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, the Apalachee defense came up with a fumble recovery.
That set up Stanley Williams' second TD of the night -- this one from 27 yards out to give Apalachee a 24-9 lead.
After another three-and-out by Madison County (1-5, 1-5), Williams got loose for a 59-yard punt return and a 31-9 lead with 5:16 left in the third quarter.
Apalachee closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter with Zay Henry's 2-yard TD run and Jody Mathis' 20-yard scramble for a score.
Williams was the star for Apalachee on this night.
The sophomore running back scored four TDs and accounted for 188 total yards -- 126 on the ground, a reception for 3 yards and the 59-yard punt return. His three TD runs were from 8, 41 and 27 yards out.
Henry added 82 yards on 16 carries while Eric Tanner had 65 yards on six attempts for the Wildcats.