On the drive back following an early-season loss to Collins, Madison Southern coach Jon Clark made a prophetic proclamation to his wife.

"I told her, 'I'd like to play them again," Clark said.

Two months later, Clark and the Eagles will get that opportunity.

Madison Southern (4-3, 3-1 district) is set to take on the Titans (6-2, 2-2) in the opening round of the Class 5A Playoffs.

Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Berea.

"It was a game I was looking forward to playing again," Clark said. "I'm glad we are playing them again."

The Eagles are eager for a re-match.

And with good reason.

Collins came up with a 21-13 district win in Shelbyville on Sept. 25 over the short-handed Eagles. Southern was without six starters, including sophomore quarterback Cole Carpenter.

The Eagles got two rushing touchdowns from Cameron Holbrook and finished with 235 yards on the ground, but came up just short.

"I felt like a season ago that we played them," Clark said. "We are a different team. We've transitioned to a much more balanced offensive attack then we have typically been in the past."

Southern bounced back with three-straight district wins, beating East Jessamine (34-14), Woodford County (29-27) and West Jessamine (35-6).

Collins started the season with five-consecutive wins, but suffered losses to Woodford County (46-29) and West Jessamine (27-24).

Those results left Southern as the No. 1 seed from District 7 and Collins as the No. 4 seed.

"They are not a No. 4 seed, but it's who we have in the first round," Clark said. "So, we will play who is in front of us."

Both teams come into the first-round match-up with momentum after big rivalry victories.

The Titans beat cross-county rival Shelby County, 24-21, on Nov. 6. The win snapped a two-game losing streak.

Quarterback Joe Lucas completed 19-of-36 passes for 186 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Kenyon Goodin had seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdowns, while Henry Robbins had a team-best 37 yards rushing.

On the season, Lucas has thrown for 1,757 yards and 21 touchdowns, with just two interceptions. Goodin has 13 receiving TDs and Robbins has seven rushing scores.

Madison Southern rolled to a 44-14 win over Madison Central on Nov. 6 at home.

The Eagles ran out to a 44-point lead and limited the Indians to 181 yards of total offense. Walt Smith (one rushing, one receiving, one punt return) and Jayshawn Ethridge (two rushing and one receiving) each had three touchdowns.

"We played really well," Clark said of the win over Central. "You always hope to play your best games in your biggest games, and we really did. If the team that played Central continues to show up, I really like where we are at right now."

Carpenter completed 9-of-15 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. On the season, the sophomore quarterback has 10 TDs and just three interceptions.

Smith leads the Eagles in both rushing yards (301) and receiving yards (336) and scoring (eight touchdowns).

Southern had advanced past the first round of the playoffs in six of the past eight seasons.

The Eagles know that won't be easy to do again.

"It should make for a very interesting first-round match-up," Clark said.

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