BHS advances to Final Four after 43-7 win over West Gadsden
by Michael DeVuyst, Contributing writer
GREENSBORO - The old adage is that defense wins championships. The Blountstown Tiger defense showed that to be true last Friday night in Greensboro as they defeated the West Gadsden Panthers 43-7 to win the Class A Region 2 Championship. Only four teams remain in the Class A playoffs, with the Tigers advancing to the State Semifinals. Blountstown will host the Baker Gators Friday, Nov. 25.
Blountstown’s defense stifled the explosive West Gadsden offense by putting pressure on the Panther QB and jamming the WR’s on the line and covering them well down the field. The Tiger defense has allowed only one or less score per game for the 8th straight week to go along with their 8th straight win.
West Gadsden did not have time to know what hit them as the Tigers jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead. Jamal Howard opened up the scoring on the second play of the game on a 50 yard run down the right sideline. Locke Pohto kicked one of his five PAT’s and the Tigers led 7-0 just 15 seconds into the game. On the ensuing kick off, the Panthers muffed the ball and Tiger Denzel Washington pounced on the loose ball on the Panther 10 yard line. Two plays later, Trey Mathews punched it in from 6 yards out and the Tigers led 14-0 just 1:40 into the game. The Tiger defense put points on the board with 7:24 left in the first quarter. K.K. Godwin intercepted a Panther pass and returned it 70 yards to pay dirt and the 21-0 Tiger lead. The Tigers would score three more times before the half. The first score came on a long, sustained drive that went 84 yards on 13 plays. Shad Johnson finished the drive with a 6 yard run and the 27-0 lead with 5:08 left in the 2nd quarter. After back-to-back punts, Tiger punter Shad Johnson pinned the Panthers on their own 3 yard line with a booming 52 yard punt. On the next play, Tiger defensive lineman Otis Pennywell sacked the Panther QB in the end zone for the Tiger safety pushing the score to 29-0. The Tigers would get the ball right back on the free kick on the Panther 45 with 2:00 left before the half. It took one play to get the ball in the paint when QB Bryson Horne hit Jamal Howard down the left sideline for 45 yards and the quick score. The PAT gave the Tigers the 36-0 halftime lead.
The second half opened with the running clock and the game moved quickly. The Tiger defense held the Panthers on their first possession of the second half and got the ball back on downs on the Panther 38 yard line. Three runs by Shad Johnson put the ball across the line with the last run from 4 yards out with 6:20 left in the third quarter and the 43-0 lead. The Panthers managed to score late in game with 2:10 left to make the final score 43-7.
The Tiger offense ran only 38 plays but put up 275 yards for a 7.2 yard per play average. Most of those yards came in the first half. Ten Tiger ball carriers touched the ball with Johnson leading the way with 61 yards on 7 carries and two TD’s. Denzel Washington ran 55 yards with six touches and Howard carried the ball twice for 54 yards. Howard also led all receivers with 1 catch for 45 yards with a TD. QB Bryson Horne finished the night 4-7 for 58 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.
With the win, the Tigers (10-2) advance to the Class A State Semifinals against the Baker Gators (12-0). The Gators beat Graceville 21-14 to advance. This game sets up a rematch from Week 2 of the regular season when Baker came to town and went home with the 21-18 win. Baker scored the go ahead TD with 1:19 left to go in that game after a long 14 play drive to escape with the win. The other State Semifinal game will pit the Madison County Cowboys (11-0) against the Pahokee Blue Devils (12-0). Plan to come out and support your Blountstown Tigers as they play to advance to the State Finals. Game day is Friday, Nov. 25 in Blountstown at 7:30 CT.