For the second time in three years, the Hawthorne Hornets and Madison County Cowboys meet for the FHSAA State Championship.
The Hornets (12-0) face the Cowboys (10-1) in the 1 Rural State Championship at 8 p.m. Thursday in Tallahassee. This is the Hornets’ fourth straight state title game appearance.
Coach Cornelius Ingram discussed the team’s playoff performance and had positive feedback for Hawthorne’s program.
State Semifinal Recap
The Hornets dominated their state semifinal matchup against the Blountstown Tigers for the second straight season. The team defeated Blountstown 49-0.
Hawthorne’s offense overwhelmed the Tigers. The Hornets scored on their opening drive with junior quarterback CJ Ingram finding South Florida Commit Alvon Isaac for a touchdown.
Ingram finished the night going 10/15 for 153 yards and three touchdowns.
Hawthorne’s defense completely shut down the Tigers. Blountstown went just 3/9 passing and recorded only one first down. Not one team has lost to the Hornets by less than 18 points this season.
— Hawthorne Hornets (@HHS_Football352) December 1, 2023
This game will be a rematch of the 2021 State Final where the the Hornets fell to Madison County 13-12.
Leading the Hornets defense is Navy commitment Andrew Zock, who has a team-high of 131 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Offensively, Isaac is the top pass catcher with 45 catches for 907 yards and 17 touchdowns.
For Madison County, it’s their first trip back to the state final under head coach Price Harris. They have had a strong turnaround season after going 4-7 in the 2022 season.
The Cowboys head into Thursday’s game with a 10-1 record, and senior quarterback Za’vion Bryant leads the team offensively. He has thrown for 741 yards and six touchdowns. The strength of the defense this season has been held by the team’s secondary, recording 19 interceptions to the front line’s 10 sacks.
Ingram said Madison County’s team looks as strong as they always do with a dual threat quarterback and multiple athletic players at every position.
Going into Thursday’s game, Ingram feels his team knows exactly what it takes to play in a competitive game. He said he has six-to-seven players who played in the game two years ago and hope for revenge.
Ingram attended a Hawthorne parade Saturday and said the love and support received from the the community brought his team joy. It gives them hope and something to look forward to, he said.
He said he feels he holds a very mature group that understands the tasks at hand and stays humble. They make him proud to be head coach.
The Hornets won the program’s first ever state championship last season in a 13-2 win over Northview High School. They hope to bring back-to-back state titles home to the community.
Kickoff is at 8 p.m.