MADISON, Fla. (WTXL) — Madison County's season, and run of three straight state titles, ended last year at the hands of Hawthorne. The Cowboys are back in the Class 1A state title game, which will be played Saturday night against Hawthorne, but the 'Boys swear this isn't a revenge game. They're focused on themselves.
"A new year, a new team, a new mindset and a new goal," said senior Rhett Rutherford on the team's mantra this season, which is reboot. "Go win."
"Kids didn't leave and quit," added head coach Mike Coe. "They stayed here and stuck together and here we are."
Madison County is back in the state championship game in a classification they three-peated in in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
"We just need to go out and play Cowboy football," said Rutherford.
Cowboy football has what's made this program one of the most dominant in the state of Florida over the last two decades. It's success that started an online petition last week to move Madison County to a higher classification.
"Used to you tried to defend it and let it bother you, but I use coach Saban a lot. It's rat poison," said Coe.
Classifications in the Florida High School Athletic Association are based on previous year school populations, but for this fall, Madison County High School reported 503 students. The max to participate in Class 1A is 600. Both Bozeman and Bradford have over 600 students, with Bradford reporting 766. So, is it the wins that have people in an uproar?
"Here's my question. Sneads has won nine straight volleyball titles. They going to petition them too?" said Coe. "Trenton softball is unbelievable every year. Are they going to petition them?"
For the Cowboys, they've been on the other side.
"Nobody felt sorry for us when we were playing all those private schools in 3A and 4A," said Coe before they moved down to Class 1A. "We went through the whole state and then we get to the end and we're playing University School with 22 transfers."
Now, as a rural school playing where they belong, they're ready to be back on top.
"We're going to go out this Saturday and do our thing," said Rutherford.
"I focus on our kids and our staff and what we have to do," added Coe. "That's all that matters to me."
Madison County does have a charter school that does not count towards their total population, but Florida state statue says it doesn't have too. The Cowboys face Hawthorne Saturday night at 7:00 at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee in the Class 1A state championship game.