It was a rough start to the season as the young Eagles battled with growing pains against a strong senior group of Commodores on Saturday.
Madison Southern created enough opportunities on the field, but couldn't capitalize in key moments in a 39-7 loss to Tates Creek in the first game of the Roy Kidd Bowl at Madison Central.
Southern coach Jon Clark said the team, which is relying on a heavy mix of underclassmen in key positions to support an experienced defense, was just not disciplined enough on Saturday to take on a determined Tates Creek.
"When you have seven sophomores and a freshman out there, (the inexperience) is going to show up. In positions like that, your upperclassman had better play perfect. Tonight, they didn't. There was too many mistakes," Clark explained.
Those missteps and missed opportunities proved too much to overcome on Saturday.
Despite Southern having more time of possession, Creek was able to take advantage of every drive and capitalized on all four of their chances in the red zone, while the Eagles were 0-3.
"We've been in the red zone five times in the last two weeks and haven't been able to get points, and that's silly. We are too senior heavy up front to be getting the play out of the line that we are. That's not good and that's on me. I'm the line coach. The O-line is my fault. I have to try and figure out how to do better," Clark said.
Southern was only able to convert on one of its five fourth-down attempts, while Creek was 4-4.
The missteps came quickly on Saturday, as Southern turned it over on downs in its first possession of the game.
The Commodores made quick work of their first drive.
Senior quarterback Luke Duby lobbed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Cion Townsend to go up 6-0 in the first quarter.
Duby finished the game 18-of-22 for 338 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 40 yards.
At the start of the second quarter, senior Marcus Bosley rushed for two yards to extend the Commodores lead to 14-0.
Duby found his top target, senior Miles Thomas, on a 15-yard touchdown pass to give Creek at 26-0 lead at halftime.
The Eagles kept fighting and finally got on the board with two minutes left in the game.
Storm fired off an incredible 63-yard touchdown pass to Etheridge and Baylor Willis added the extra point.
The Eagles will look to bounce back on Friday when they face Southwestern in their home opener.