The Eagles (2-6, 1-2) limped off the field following a 56-20 loss at home to Woodford County (7-0, 2-0) without their emotional leader.
Senior Walt Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury and several other Madison Southern players were forced to the sideline during the loss.
“It just keeps going,” Madison Southern coach Jon Clark said. “It's wild. I've dealt with more injuries this year than I ever have, by far.”
The short-handed Eagles didn't have much time to lick their wounds.
Southern is set to hit the road for its final district match-up.
The Eagles will take on West Jessamine (3-3, 1-1) on Friday in Nicholasville.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
Smith tore the ACL in his left knee in the second quarter. The senior was a key member of all units for the Eagles — offense, defense and special teams (as a returner and as the punter).
"You hate to see a kid who has had that great of a career, end it like that," Clark said of Smith. "It's a hard pill to swallow. He is doing well. He is in good spirits."
Smith will have surgery next week.
His loss is just another blow to a roster which was already dangerously thin because of injuries and health and safety protocol issues.
In addition to Smith, southern could have three or four other starters out of the line-up against West Jessaminie.
"The thing with us is that we are playing a lot of inexperienced guys," Clark said. "I don't really know how they are going to respond. We have multiple guys who are going to be getting their first varsity experience."
Despite the injuries, the Eagles keep battling.
Jayshaun Ethridge had an 86-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter against undefeated Woodford County, which got Southern back with eight points (28-20).
Stephen Whitehead had 177 yards rushing on 24 attempts and scored two touchdowns. In the past three games, the sophomore had eight touchdowns and 469 yards rushing.
"Even as thin as we are, we are still competing in these big games," Clark said.
A showdown with West Jessamine could have a big impact on the district standings.
The Eagles are in fourth place, but could move up to third with a win.
The Colts have lost two of their past three games, including a 60-14 setback to Woodford County two weeks ago.
West Jessamine was off las week.
"I think we match up well with them. They have improved a lot from last year."
Quarterback Jacob Jones has completed 79-of-140 pass attempts for 1,240 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has also rushed for 260 yards and eight scores.
Bryce Chestnut has 408 yards rushing with five touchdowns.
Ernest Stanfield has 33 catches for 503 yards (five TDs) and Dalton Carter has 31 catches for 555 yards (six touchdowns).
"He is pretty dynamic," Clark said of Jones. "He can beat you with the pass. He can beat you with his legs. He has a couple of explosive receivers."
The Eagles have beaten West Jessamine in each of the past two seasons — 63-40 in 2019 and 35-6 in 2020.