TAMPA — Madison County topped Tampa Catholic in the season opener, a rematch of the 2007 Class 2A state title game.
The second quarter opened with a high snap that sailed over the Madison County punter and into the back of the end zone, giving Tampa Catholic the first points. Madison County's special teams nearly redeemed itself on the following kickoff by forcing and recovering a fumble, but the returner was ruled down by contact.
Madison County rectified the error on the first play of the third quarter with a 97-yard touchdown return.
Eric Bright led Madison County's impressive rushing attack, adding more than 150 yards and a score.
The Crusaders favored an air assault. Quarterback Kyle Ploucher connected with Isaiah Osby and Justin Motlow for more than 120 combined yards and a score. Interceptions ended TC's chances of a comeback. The first, on third and long, came on the opening play of the fourth quarter. The second came after a 33-yard completion into the red zone with roughly four minutes remaining.
Bobby Winsler, Times correspondent