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Tigers heading to Class A Championship Game Dec. 7 after defeating Baker 41-21

by Michael DeVuyst, Journal sports writer

BAKER - Sometimes the best defense is a strong offense.  The Blountstown Tigers went on the offensive last Friday night in Baker on their way to a 41-21 victory over the Baker Gators (12-1).

The Tiger offense was too explosive and multi-dimensional as it churned out 427 yards of offense on 47 plays for an average of 9.1 yards per play with six rushing touchdowns.   Blountstown snapped Baker’s 25 game win streak (including two over Blountstown last year) to earn a berth in the Class A title game on Dece. 7 in Orlando.

Baker opened the game on offense with a sack, overthrow and incomplete pass for a three and out series.  Blountstown’s first possession was a battle against the Baker defense and the referees.  The Tigers overcame 4 penalties costing them 33 yards but still managed to put together a 12 play, 64 yard drive.  Denzel Washington continued his tear through the playoffs scoring from 1 yard out and the Tigers took the 7-0 lead with 2:54 in the 1st quarter.

Baker would answer with an 8 play 61 yard drive.  Gator fullback Jayson Moore would bull over the line from 4 yards out and tie the game at 7 with 25 seconds left in the 1st quarter.

The Tiger’s would find pay dirt again on their first drive of the second quarter. An 8 play 56 yard drive was finished by Washington from 16 yards out.  The score gave the Tigers the lead at 14-7 with 9:20 in the first half.

After three straight penalties by Blountstown, they would end up kicking off from their own 15 yard line.  Those penalties gave the Gators good field position to start their next drive.  The Gators continued to move the ball well and pound out yardage on the ground.  Moore would score again for Baker after an 11 play drive on a 5 yard run.  The extra point was no good and Blountstown kept the lead at 14-13 with 4:57 left in the half.

Once again the Tiger offense would answer.  Starting on their own 35 yard line, Treven Smith took the hand off on the first play of the next possession.  Smith broke into the clear and was on his way untouched to the end zone.  However, Smith fumbled the ball as he tried to change hands.  Luckily, Smith recovered his own fumble after a 29 yard gain.  Three more runs and a 15 yard pass from Trent Peacock to Washington got the ball to the Baker 5 yard line.  Kevon Godwin finished the drive with a 5 yard run and the Tigers would take the 21-13 lead with 2:53 to go the first half.

Baker would make things interesting before the end of the half.  The Gators would drive inside the Tiger 30 yard line on seven straight pass attempts.  The last pass attempt was picked off by Washington at the 10 yard line to end the threat and the half with Blountstown up 21-13.

The second half opened up with back-to-back punts by each team.  It looked like Blountstown would be forced to punt again facing a 3rd and 10 on the Baker 44 yard line.  On 3rd down Peacock dropped back to pass and would be flushed to the right.  Just prior to stepping out of bounds, Peacock zipped the ball up field and found Godwin down the sideline for a 45 yard gain to the 11 yard line of the Gators.  Two straight runs by Washington and he had his third TD of the night.  The score pushed the Tiger lead to 28-13 with 5:48 in the 3rd quarter.

Baker would not go away.  Facing their own 3rd and 10 on the Tiger 32 yard line magic would strike for the Gators.  A Baker pass to the right flat looked like a sure interception for the Tigers but the defender slipped on the wet grass and the pass floated over the defenders head into the arms of Baker’s Junior McLaughlin who raced untouched down the sideline for the Baker TD.  Baker went for the 2-point conversion and got it with a throwback pass to the left.  The Tiger lead was cut to 28-21 with 3:50 to go in the 3rd quarter.

It was all Blountstown from that point.  Blountstown would strike quick on their next possession and steal the momentum back.  On the first play of their next drive, Treven Smith ripped off a 66 yard run taking the ball to the Baker 4 yard line.   Jamal Howard capped the 2 play drive with a 4 yard run and the Tigers stretched the lead 35-21 with 3:15 to go in the 3rd quarter.

As the game got into the 4th quarter Baker continued to drive the ball into Tiger territory but lost the ball on downs at the Tiger 15 yard line.  Blountstown would then put the game away with big runs by Godwin and Washington bringing the ball into the red zone.  Trent Peacock found the paint on a 10 yard run to cap the 8 play drive and the nail in the coffin to finish the scoring at 41-21 with 6:32 to play.

A Kevon Godwin interception on the Tiger 4 yard line was returned to midfield with 2:49 left to play and seal the Blountstown victory.

Treven Smith led the Tiger rushing attack with 123 yards on 5 carries.  Washington added 76 yards on 15 carries including 3 TD’s.  Godwin chipped in 69 yards on 7 carries and a TD.  QB Trent Peacock went 5-5 for 84 yards with 57 yards rushing on 8 carries and a TD.  Godwin finished with 2 catches for 52 yards and Jamal Howard added 2 catches for 17 yards.

The Tiger defense bent but did not break as the plan for night was not to give up the big play.  The defense was led by the inside linebackers Jar’Kevis Bess and Kentrell Lawson with 13 tackles each.  Outside linebackers Alex Buggs and Tucker Jordan finished with 8 tackles each.  Jordan also recorded a sack.  James Shores booted 5 of 6 extra point attempts.

The Tigers (11-1) won their 10th straight game to advance to play the Madison County Cowboys (13-0) at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Thursday, December 7th at noon CT.  Madison County beat Pahokee 28-10 last Friday night to advance to the finals.

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Date
December 1st, 2017

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