by Michael DeVuyst,
Journal sports writer
GREENSBORO – The saying goes that offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. Blountstown’s defense won the District 4 Class 1A championship against West Gadsden last Friday night in Greensboro. The Tigers kept the high flying Panthers out of the end zone by stopping them on two fourth and goals from the 1 yard line and forcing two field goal attempts on two other possessions. The Tigers’ defense sealed the deal with a minute and a half left in the game with an interception.
Head Coach Greg Jordan was relieved that his team was able to win and avoid a tiebreaker game. “We knew that West Gadsden was a good football team. They probably played the best game of the year against us. Thank goodness our defense continues to play like they have all year. They saved us again.”
The defense continues to play lights out and have allowed only 83 total points through nine games. That is the second lowest point total allowed in Class A just behind Union County.
Blountstown took the opening kickoff and had to punt after 3 plays. West Gadsden started their first drive on the Tiger 39 and quickly found themselves first and goal from the Tiger 6. On third and goal from the 3 yard line, Tiger LB Javakiel Brigham shot through the line and tackled the West Gadsden ball carrier for a 4 yard loss. The Panthers brought on Israel Grande for the 24 yard field goal attempt. Grande split the uprights with plenty to spare and the Panthers took the 3-0 lead with 6:31 left in the first quarter. The Tiger offense answered on their next possession. Blountstown started on their own 37 and a Jawon Mosley 18 yard run set up a 42 yard Bobby Andrews TD catch from Hunter Jordan. Corin Peterson added the extra point with 4:28 in the first and the Tigers pulled ahead 7-3. West Gadsden’s Marquis Foreman returned the subsequent kickoff 40 yards and the Panthers started their drive on the Tiger 42. After a Panther penalty, Foreman struck again with a 43 yard catch down to the Tiger 2 yard line. Four running plays could not result in points and the Tiger defense stopped the Panthers on downs with big hits by Anthony Curry, Patrick Pitts, Hunter Jordan, Anthony Williams and Brigham. The Tigers could not move the ball for a first down and were forced to punt out of their own end zone. West Gadsden’s offense started in great field position on the Tiger 26. An interception by Tiger Corin Peterson stopped the drive at the 15 yard line. The Tigers returned the favor two plays later when Jordan, under immense pressure, threw an interception to Monterrious Presha who returned the ball to the Tiger 6. Two running plays got the ball to the 1 yard line and a third down run was stopped for no gain by Pitts and Peterson. The Panthers gambled on fourth and goal from the 1 and lost when QB A’Dondre Kelly was stopped for a loss of 2 by Brigham and Jordan. The Tigers took the ball over at the Panther three yard line and runs by Curry and Marquel Thomas along with a penalty took the Tigers out to midfield. The drive stalled but the Tigers were able to gain momentum and field position right before the end of the half. After trading punts, the Tigers started a scoring drive on West Gadsden’s 40 yard line. Five plays later Jordan found Anthony Jones in the end zone on a perfect throw and catch of 21 yards. Peterson’s kick was blocked but the Tiger’s lead was extended to 13-3 with 4:28 left in the half.
The second half started with each team punting once. The Panthers started their second drive of the half on their own 30 yard line. After seven plays and a 36 yard completion to Foreman the Panthers found their way into the red zone. Two runs and an incomplete pass resulted in a fourth and six from the Tiger 18 yard line. West Gadsden’s Grande came in for the 35 yard field goal attempt and nailed it to close the gap at 13-6 with 3:49 left in the third quarter. The Tigers moved the ball on their next possession and worked their way inside the Panther 35 yard line but a fumble stopped the Tigers drive on the first play of the fourth quarter. West Gadsden had to punt after three downs and the Tigers found themselves back into Panther territory after a Jordan to Ryan Hathcox reception that went for 40 yards. Two runs and two incomplete passes and the Tigers lost the ball on downs on the Panthers 15 yard line. West Gadsden’s last chance drive of the night started with runs of 24 and 10 yards bringing the ball quickly out to midfield. Two more big running plays and the Panthers were set up first and 10 on the Tiger 25 yard line with 2:00 left in the game. That’s when the Tiger defense said enough is enough. Brigham stopped the next running play for a loss of 5 and then Thomas Tierney sacked the Panther QB for a loss of 14. The next play sealed the game for the Tigers when Anthony Williams intercepted a pass on the Tiger 43 yard line with 1:35 left to play in the game. The Tiger offense was then able to gain a first down and run the clock out.
The win improves the Tigers’ record to 5-4 on the season and 4-0 in district play.
The Tigers will host homecoming opponent Lafayette Co. this Friday night at 7:00. On Friday, Nov. 18 the Tigers will host Chipley in the first round of the playoffs.
TONY SHOEMAKE PHOTOS