The Blountstown Tigers and the Liberty County Bulldogs met Friday night at Bowles Field for their annual district rivalry and bragging rights for another year. For seniors in the game, it's bragging rights for a lifetime. Until next year, Blountstown owns the bragging rights after defeating the Bulldogs, 20-7, in a fumble and penalty filled game.
"Liberty County has a good football team and our main concern was whether our offensive line could block their big guys," coach Greg Jordan said Monday. In the fourth quarter, we controlled the clock for the final six minutes with some key first downs. Our defense came up with some big plays and some key stops when Liberty threatened to score. Both teams played hard and displayed some good sportsmanship during the game. I was really proud of our kids," Jordan proudly stated.
The win puts the Tigers in the driver's seat at 2-0 for the district championship. With road games coming up against Franklin County and West Gadsden, two wins and the Tigers are district champs. Lose one of the two and there would be some sort of three way shootout. Lose them both and there will be no post season game.
"Our players have really worked hard and now are really focussed on their next two games. We've lost four games this year by close scores and we know we're good enough to win if we all do our jobs, play hard and never quit," Jordan noted.
Liberty County came into the game with a 6-1 record and 2-0 in district play. Their place in the playoffs will depend on Blountstown's next two games.
Blame it on cool night moisture or nerves, neither team could hold onto the football Friday night. Liberty County fumbled 7 times and lost 5. Blountstown coughed it up 4 times and lost 3. Two of Liberty's fumbles were scooped up by the Tiger defense and returned for touchdowns. The Tigers had one pass intercepted so there were 9 turnovers in the game. On top of the turnovers, the Bulldogs were pentalized 8 times for 55 yards and the Tigers were flagged 3 times for 32 yards.
The turnovers and penalties and good defensive efforts by both teams kept both offensive units in check for most of the night. Blountstown ran the ball 38 plays for 120 yards and quarterback Hunter Jordan connected of 5 of 10 passes for another 87 yards. The Bulldogs had 154 yards on the ground on 36 attempts, but 53 of those yards came on an Alex Marlowe touchdown sprint. The Bulldogs completed 1 of 5 passes for 0 yards.
A 36 yard pass from Jordan to Anthony Curry helped move the Tigers to the Bulldog 36 before being stopped and forced to punt. The Bulldogs were forced to punt, but the Tigers fumbled the punt and the Bulldogs recovered in good field position at midfield.
On second down, the Bulldogs gave up their first fumble with Jordan scooping up the ball and returning it 32 yards to the Bulldog 18. Four straight running plays had the Tigers on the scoreboard with Jawon Mosley going in from the five. Corin Peterson's extra point gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Following an exchange of punts, the Bulldogs took over at their own 45. On second down, Marlowe broke into the open and raced 53 yards to paydirt. Trye Johnson added the PAT and the game was tied at 7-7.
Neither team made it across midfield for the remainder of the first half.
A Jordan pass to Marquel Thomas moved the ball to the Bulldog 36 on the first possession of the second half. The Tigers, however, lost another fumble and the Bulldogs took over at their own 37. After a 43 yard Terryal Jenkins run to the Tiger 17, a penalty backed the Bulldogs up. On second down, Steadman Dawson recovered another Bulldog fumble at the Tiger 26.
This Tiger possession ended on third down when Marlowe intercepted a Jordan pass and returned it to the Tiger 17.
On first down, Dawson scooped up a Marlowe fumble and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. Peterson's PAT gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead.
The Tigers kicked off and two plays later, Marlowe fumbled again and Bobby Andrews recovered near midfield for the Tigers.
The Tigers were forced to punt and Liberty took over at their own 6. After gaining a first down, Marlowe was hit int he backfield and lost the ball. Javakiel Brigham picked up the ball and returned it 15 yards for another Tiger defensive score. Peterson's PAT missed, but the Tigers were on top early in the fourth period, 20-7.
The Tiger defense held the Bulldogs to 2 yards and forced them to punt. On first down, Jordan fumbled and Michael Robinson recovered for Liberty at the Tigers' 26. A big tackle for a 7 yard loss by Brigham forced Liberty to attempt a fourth down pass that gained nothing. Blountstown took over on their own 30. From there, Mosley and Jordan ate up the time on the clock with some hard running to the Bulldog 14.
Mosley led the Tiger offense with 93 yards on 17 carries. Anthony Curry had two receptions for 43 yards, Thomas had one catch for 29 yards and Ran Hathcox had one catch for 15 yards.
Marlowe rushed for 88 yards on 21 attempts including the 53 yard touchdown. Jenkins added 62 yards on 6 attempts.
Thomas Tierney led the Tiger defense with 13 tackles including 3 for losses. Peterson had 9 tackles followed by Brigham with 7 including a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. Patrick Pitts had 6 tackles followed by Anthony Williams with 4, Chaz Fain with 3, Jawon Mosley, Jordan, Bobby Andrews and Dawson with 2 each.
Trey Johnson led the Bulldog defense with 12 tackles including 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Robinson added 8 tackles followed by Jenkins with 7, Marlowe, Ethan Foran, and Daniel Deason with 5 each. Matt Bodiford had 4 tackles for the Bulldogs.
The Tigers will travel to Franklin County Friday night for a 6:30 kickoff. The Bulldogs will host South Walton at 8:00 ET for Senior Night