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Tigers claw to the end but fall 35-20 in Class A Finals

by Michael DeVuyst, Journal sports writer

ORLANDO - The Blountstown Tigers (11-2) fought to the end but came up short in the Class A finals to the Madison County Cowboys (14-0) 35-20 in front of an announced crowd of 3,717.

The Tigers came out on a mission to win the schools first football title in 40 years and it looked possible after a nearly perfect first half performance.

Madison County won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. The Tiger defense was up to the task and forced a three and out.

After a short punt by the Cowboys, Blountstown was in business for their first drive starting inside Cowboy territory at the 46.

Several big runs by Denzel Washington and Trent Peacock took the ball down to the Cowboy 3 yard line where the Tigers had a first and goal.

Two Blountstown penalties pushed the Tigers back to the 13 yard line but on the next play Trent Peacock found Jamal Howard in the back of the end zone on a 13 yard pass play to give the Tigers the lead at 7-0 with 5:48 left in the first quarter.

The Cowboys would answer on their next drive getting a third and long conversion and a 27 yard TD pass on fourth down to tie the game at 7 with 2:32 in the 1st quarter.

After back-to-back punts, the Tigers took over on their own 25 yard line to start their first drive of the second quarter. On the second play of the drive, Trent Peacock found daylight on the right side of the line on a QB keeper and outraced everyone 66 yards to the paint. The Tigers took the lead at 14-7 with 8:58 in the second quarter.

Madison County countered with a 1 yard QB sneak after a 9 play 59 yard drive. The Cowboy score tied the game at 14 with 5:59 left in the first half.

Blountstown’s next possession stalled at midfield but a James Shores punt pinned the Cowboys at their own 6 yard line and flipped the field. The Tiger defense stood tall and forced a punt with 2:08 before the end of the half.

The Tigers took advantage of the good field position and began their drive on the Cowboy 46 yard line.  Two pass completions to Washington and another completion to Howard got the ball down to the 23 yard line and a time out stopped the clock with 6 seconds left in the first half.

The Tigers called on James Shores to come in to attempt a 41 yard field goal.  Shores nailed the kick right down the middle of the uprights with plenty of room to spare as time expired to give the Tigers the 17-14 half time lead.

Blountstown would receive the second half kickoff with a chance to increase their lead.  Madison County had other plans.  The Cowboys forced a three and out and got excellent field position after a long punt return.  Starting on the Tiger 22 yard line the Cowboys took only three plays to take the lead with a 1 yard plunge.  The score gave the Cowboys the 21-17 lead with 9:28 to go in the third quarter.

The Tigers’ next possession produced the games first turnover.  Facing a 3rd and 8 from their own 23 yard line, an untimely snap hit a Tiger in motion and rolled around on the ground and was recovered by the Cowboys on the Tiger 21 yard line.  The Tiger defense stiffened forcing a 40 yard FG attempt by the Cowboys.  The FG sailed wide and the Tigers averted disaster but still trailed 21-17 with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

Another three and out by the Tigers and another failed FG attempt by the Cowboys moved the game into the 4th quarter.  With their first possession of the 4th quarter the Tigers got a 15 yard catch by Kevon Godwin and a 35 yard run by Howard and was on the verge of the red zone down to the Cowboy 24 yard line.  Disaster struck for the Tigers on a 3rd and 2 option pitch that was off target and fumbled stopping the Blountstown drive and scoring opportunity.  The Cowboys pounced on the loose ball on their own 28 yard line with 10:25 in the game.

Two plays later, lightning struck for the Cowboys in the form of a 68 yard run to push their lead to 28-17 with 9:46 to play.

The Tigers would not give up and continue to fight to get back in the game.  Blountstown put together an 8 play drive, going 59 yards with help from a 23 yard Howard run and personal foul penalty.  Facing a 4th and 7 on the Cowboy 22, the Tigers trotted out James Shores for the 40 yard FG attempt to cut the lead to one possession.  Shores knocked in his second long FG of the game to cut the deficit by 3 pushing the score to 28-20 with 7:20 to play in the game.

The Tiger score proved too little too late as Madison County’s depth, size and speed begin to show up in the fourth quarter.  The Cowboys would take the ensuing kickoff and proceed to run the clock down and chew up yardage on a 7 play drive covering 69 yards.  Another 1 yard run by the Cowboys put the nail in the coffin at 35-20 with 2:30 left.

Blountstown would give the ball up on downs on their last possession on their own 35 yard line and the Cowboys would end the game by taking a knee inside the Tiger 5 yard line.


Despite the loss, Head Coach Greg Jordan beamed with pride at the performance of his team and staff,  “Our kids did everything we asked them to do,” he said.   “They did not quit.  We had one of the best teams in the entire state in all classifications on the ropes but could not deliver the knock out punch.  Madison’s depth took over in the second half and we did not help ourselves with a couple of turnovers.  We were within one score of tying the game up midway through the fourth quarter.  That’s the closest anybody has been to beating them since week 6 and the closest any Class A team has been.”   

The Tiger offense was able to move the ball at times against a stout and well rested Madison County defense.  The Tigers put up 283 yards on 52 plays for an average of 5.4 yards per play.  Trent Peacock led the Tiger offense with 97 yards rushing on 12 carries including a 66 yard TD run.  Peacock also went 9-15 passing for 74 yards with a TD.  Jamal Howard had 3 big runs going for 62 yards.  Howard also caught a 3 passes for 29 yards including a 13 yard TD.  Denzel Washington was the workhorse once again for the Tigers with 47 yards on 16 carries.  Washington also hauled in 2 catches for 15 yards.  Kevon Godwin chipped in with 3 catches for 27 yards.

Congratulations to Denzel Washington and Trent Peacock for reaching impressive offensive individual milestones.  Washington finished the year with 1,046 yards rushing becoming the first Tiger in over 10 years to reach the 1,000 yard mark. Trent Peacock reached the 1,215 yard passing total for the year.  Peacock finished the year completing 70% of his passes with an incredible QB rating of 134.

The Tiger defense played their hearts out but could not maintain their first half magic.  The depth, size and speed of the Madison County offense took over in the fourth quarter.

Kentrell Lawson played his best game of the year finishing with a game leading 14 tackles.  Jar’Keavis Bess chipped in 8 tackles with Tucker Jordan and Alex Buggs finishing with 7 tackles each.  James Shores connected on two big time field goals and both extra point attempts accounting for 8 total points.

Lawson (132), Bess (115) and Buggs (107) finished the year with over 100 tackles each.  Buggs led the defense with 6 total sacks for the year.  Kevon Godwin had 6 interceptions on the year.

Congratulations goes to Head Coach Greg Jordan and his entire coaching staff for their preparation and dedication year in and year out.  Assistant Coaches Charles Buggs and Emory Horne have been with the program for many years.  Adam Edwards joined the group a few years ago with newcomers this year Beau Johnson (previous stint in 2013-2014) and Jay McClellan.

As area coaches come and go, 2017 was Coach Jordan’s 12th year as head coach at his alma mater.  Coach Jordan has compiled an outstanding 104-42 record for the Tigers.  That’s a .712 winning percentage and an amazing average of 8.7 wins per year.  Coach Jordan’s teams have earned five District Titles and have been runner-up in the District five times, only missing the playoffs one year.  This year the Tigers ended the regular season as the point leader in Class A Region 2, which is equivalent to winning another district title.  The Tigers have played an incredible 25 playoff games in the last 12 years earning 4 Region Championships, four State Semifinal appearances and two State Runner-Up titles.

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December 15th, 2017



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