BEREA -- Madison Southern football coach Jon Clark said last week the Eagles knew it would be hard to beat the same team twice -- especially with the season on the line.

On Friday, though, Southern made it look easy.

Powered by a strong defensive effort, the Eagles (6-5) took control early and rolled to a 50-20 victory over Woodford County in the opening round of the Class 5A Playoffs.

Sophomore running back AJ Jones had four rushing touchdowns and the Eagle defense had two interceptions and recovered three fumbles.

With the win over the Yellow Jackets (6-5), Southern will take on East Jessamine next Friday in Nicholasville in the district championship game.

The defense shined on Friday for Southern.

"One of the things I'm most proud of is our defense tonight," Clark said after the game. "(Amartae Rice) for them has dominated other opponents. We've been able to shut him down in two games this year. That's big. We've played very well defensively against this team this year."

A big play from sophomore Jayshaun Etheridge started the Eagles rolling in the opening minutes of the first quarter.

On Woodford County's second play of the game, Etheridge tackled a receiver and was able to dislodge the ball and scoop it up to run it 20 yards for a quick touchdown to put Southern ahead 7-0.

"He is a sophomore and he is just getting better and better as the year goes on with defense. He's really started to come into his own," Clark said of Etheridge.

Southern didn't slow down on its first possession of the night.

It took just one play for the Eagles to score.

Quarterback Tobias Storm weaved in and around defenders and found an opening to rush 32 yards over the goal line.

When the Eagle defense took the field again, once more, they made quick work of the Yellow Jacket's offense.

Broc Parmer recovered a fumble on the second play to put the Eagles on the 45-yard line.

However, this time Woodford County's defense was able to sack Storm on the drive to stop the momentum.

The defense was able to hold off the Yellow Jackets and on the Eagles' next possession, Storm blasted by defenders for another rushing TD to put Southern ahead 21-0 with 3:46 left in the first quarter.

At the start of the second quarter, Jones got loose and rushed for 50 yards for his first touchdown.

The Eagles failed to get a two-point conversion but extended their lead over Woodford, 27-0.

The Yellow Jackets fumbled the ball away on their next drive and Etheridge recovered it.

On one play, Jones carried the ball 47 yards for another touchdown and put the Eagles ahead 33-0.

Southern was able to put the game into a running clock situation with 8:20 left in the first half when Baylor Willis made a 22-yard field goal.

The Yellow Jackets were able to make it into the red zone on their next possession, but Jackson Chambers picked off a pass to give the Eagles back the ball with less than three minutes to go until halftime.

Jones broke two tackles and sprinted down the right sideline to get another touchdown.

However, the Yellow Jackets struck back with less than a minute to go until the break when Rice found an opening and rushed for 50 yards for a touchdown to make it 43-6 at the half.

Lifted by Rice's touchdown, Woodford opened the second half with another rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion to make it 43-14.

The Yellow Jackets defense had no answer for Jones, who rushed for 60 yards for his final touchdown to put the Eagles ahead 50-14.

After that, the Eagles never looked back.

Woodford County got one more touchdown in the final minutes of the fourth quarter against the Eagles second string, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit.

"AJ Jones ran the ball really well for us tonight. We made some plays on offense. I saw some really good tackling tonight. I really liked the physicality of the defense tonight. We were hitting. Shane Sandlin had some huge hits for us and some big plays. Jackson Chambers' interception was great for us," Clark said after the game. "Playoffs are different here. We are always looking to win in November… We talked this week about keeping our eyes forward. We are 1-0 now -- tomorrow we wake up and we are 0-0."

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