BEREA -- The Eagles (1-5) had the ball only twice in the second half of a match-up with Collins (4-1) on Friday night.

They scored on both those possessions.

That wasn't enough, though, to overcome a big, early deficit.

"That was the best half of football we have played so far this season, by far," Madison Southern coach Jon Clark said.

Stephen Whitehead scored on a 1-yard run with 3:48 left to get the Eagles within striking distance, but the Titans were able to run out the clock and claim a 27-19 win in the district opener for both teams.

Whitehead had three rushing touchdowns as Southern battled back after trailing 27-6 at halftime.

"We finally got the run game going. That's what we've been missing and it was exciting to see," Clark said. "Stephen Whitehead run his butt off. The first guy wasn't bringing him down."

Junior quarterback Kenyon Goodin scored three rushing touchdowns for the Titans in the first half and Xavier Jordan returned an interception for a touchdown.

Goodin found the end zone with 1:27 left in the first half after converting a big fourth down deep in his team's own territory.

The Titans had three possessions in the second half, but despite two long drives didn't score again.

"He is a really good player," Clark said of Goodin. "He is extremely underrated. I think our guys did a great job of adjusting."

Southern had a chance to get the ball in the final minutes, attempting an on-sides kick.

The Eagles thought they had come up with the ball, but did not receive possession.

"We recovered three on-sides kicks and didn't get a single one of them given to us," Clark said. "We were offsides on one, but the other two were ours. That's frustrating."

Southern is set to face district rival East Jessamine next week in Nicholasville.

"If we keep getting better every half, which we are, we are going to be fine," Clark said. "We are not out of it by any means."

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