Liberty Co. Bulldogs fall to Chipley Tigers 57-40
With a playoff spot on the line, the atmosphere in Bristol was super-charged when the Liberty County High School Bulldogs played host to the Chipley High School Tigers. The teams wound up putting an eye-popping 97 points on the scoreboard, and the Dawgs turned in one of their best passing performances in recent memory, but wound up on the wrong end of a 40-57 final score.
The Tigers grabbed the initiative by recovering the opening onside kick at the LCHS 44 yard line. The very next play, the Tigers running back #25 sliced through the Bulldog defense for a 44-yard touchdown and the early 0-7 lead less than 20 seconds into the game. The teams traded punts for the next few possessions, until Chipley took over at their own 15 yard line. The Tigers completed a 45-yard pass, and followed it up with a 30-yard touchdown run, pushing their lead to 0-14 with 1:16 left in the 1st quarter.
The Tigers had been stacking 8 and 9 men in the box to stop the Dawg rushing attack, leaving the pass open. On their next offensive possession, LCHS quarterback #16 Alex Gonzalez took advantage by finding # 5 Chris Williams for a 60-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was no good, and at the close of the 1st quarter, the Dawgs trailed 6-14.
The Bulldogs kept the momentum going by recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The Dawgs were in great field position, taking over at the CHS 25 yard line. LCHS continued to find success through the air, with Gonzalez again connecting with Williams on a beautiful, play-action, throw-back pass for the second Dawg touchdown of the night. The 2-point conversion was no good, and with 10:47 left in the 2nd quarter, the Bulldogs trailed 12-14.
Chipley answered with their potent ground attack, calling seven straight running plays. The drive was capped by a 36-yard touchdown run by #25, and after the extra point, the Tigers lead was extended to 12-21 with 7:09 to go in the first half. The Dawgs answered with a seven-play scoring drive of their own, keyed by a gutsy 10-yard scramble on third-down to keep the drive alive and a 24-yard touchdown pass to #2 Hunter Sutler. With 5:30 left in the 2nd quarter, the Dawgs cut the Tiger lead to 18-21. The visitors put one more touchdown on the board to make the halftime score 18-28 for the Tigers.
Both bands treated the fans to great halftime performances. The Sound of Liberty also has the Florida Bandmaster’s Association Marching Festival coming up in Panama City this Saturday. The cheerleaders did a great job keeping up the Bulldog spirit, as they always do, and helped bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness month by sporting pink pompoms.
Unfortunately for the home team, the Tigers refused to relinquish their first half lead, and eventually built on it in the second half. The size and strength of the Tiger offensive and defense lines was apparent all night, as the CHS ball carriers consistently had running lanes, while the Bulldog backs were usually dodging defenders in the backfield. Gonzalez finished with a career night, going 17/40 for 310 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Williams had 6 catches for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns, #7 J.J. House had 4 grabs for 70 yards and 1 touchdown, and Sutler made 2 catches for 42 yards and 1 touchdown.
The Bulldogs final game of the season will be on the road at Baker High School this Friday night.