Fred & Geno Show

Thursday night at Cox Stadium in Tallahassee had a special feeling to it. With good reason. Two of the country's top players -- receiver <b>Fred Rouse</b> of Lincoln and linebacker <b>Eugene Hayes</b> of Madison County -- squared off. Both players didn't disappoint. Rouse turned in an electric performance but it wasn't enough as Hayes and the top-ranked Cowboys remained undefeated with a 28-13 victory. As expected, the Florida State coaching staff showed in full force to take in the action.

As Madison County and Lincoln players lined up to shake hands following the teams' exciting showdown at Cox Stadium in Tallahassee on Thursday, the night's two biggest stars were near the end of their respective lines.

Once receiver Fred Rouse of Lincoln and linebacker Eugene Hayes of Madison County met near midfield, the duo began playfully shouting at each other.

They the embraced and smiled, wishing one another luck the remainder of the season.

Rouse and Hayes, considered two of the nation's top high school players overall, didn't disappoint.

Hayes and top-ranked Class 2A Madison County relied on a powerful running game and a just as powerful defense to upend Class 4A Lincoln 28-13 before an enthusiastic crowd that braved the wet conditions.

As expected, the Florida State coaching staff was in full force for the showdown as the talented pair each lists the Seminoles amongst their favorite schools.

Tailback Desmond Gee rushed for 245 yards and two touchdowns, including a 27-yard scamper on fourth-and-2 late in the fourth quarter, to lift the Cowboys to their sixth consecutive victory.

The waterbug Gee took a pitch around right end, tip-toed along the sideline and burst toward the end zone untouched for the second half's only score.

Lincoln (3-3), meanwhile, couldn't overcome five turnovers, including a fumble and interception deep in Madison County territory in the second half. The Trojans were held scoreless over the final three quarters and had their three-game win streak snapped.

Not even an outstanding effort from Rouse, who had scoring receptions of 63 and 64 yards and finished with nearly 200 all-purpose yards, could help save the Trojans.

Rouse finished with five catches for 173 and scores of 63 and 64 yards. He also added a 24-yard run on a third-quarter reverse, though he fumbled the ball near the Madison County 10-yard line as the Trojans tried to slice into a 22-13 deficit.

"I thought I was down over there, but you get calls against you sometimes," said a smiling Rouse following the game.

Rouse couldn't but help feel good about the Trojans' effort against one of the best defenses in the state of Florida. The young Trojans also have shown vast improvement after starting the season 0-2.

On his two touchdown receptions, Rouse simply outran the Cowboys' pass coverage. He also nearly made a spectacular catch on a sideline pass deep in Madison County territory late in the third quarter.

The Trojans suffered an interception on the next play.

"I just tried to play to my ability as the No. 1 player in the nation, and that's what happened tonight. I showed up but we had a couple of mistakes. But that's how the game goes sometimes."

Madison County's defense, led Hayes, continued its impressive streak against the run. The Cowboys have not allowed an opponent to finish with positive rushing yards, limiting the Trojans to a minus-18. Madison County also finished with six sacks.

Madison County finished with 349 rushing yards and limited the Trojans to 160 total yards. The Cowboys entered the game limiting opponents to 64.2 yards of total offense. Hayes, the team's top tackler, entered with eight sacks on the season.

A smiling Hayes also was proud of his team's efforts. And he welcomed the opportunity to square off against Rouse. And, who knows? The two could be future teammates at the collegiate level.

"It's fun playing against Rouse and those guys -- these are the kind of games that are going to get you better," Hayes said.

"Our goal as a defense is to mow down everyone we play. Everyone."

Madison County lost in last year's state championship game to Hollywood Chaminade.

Nole Digest Top Stories