The Blountstown Tigers and the Liberty County Bulldogs battled for the second time this season Friday night in Bristol with the winner moving on in the playoffs and the loser hanging up the pads until next year.
Liberty County once again made more big plays when they needed to and won a hard hitting game, 14-7. Blountstown scored with less than a minute left in the game but couldn't come up with the onside kick attempt for another few plays and a shot at sending the game into overtime. The Bulldogs will now host Northview at 7:30 ET Friday night in the State Semi-Finals and a shot at a state championship.
The Tigers finished the season as the district runner-up to Liberty County and advanced to the rematch with the Bulldogs with a 10-0 win last Friday night over Holmes County.
"We had a pretty good season and our young guys played well and gained a lot of experience for next year. We wish Coach Grantham, his coaches and players continued success in the playoffs. They only lost to Marianna and Bay this year and beat us twice. We'll try and be ready for them next year," coach Greg Jordan said Monday.
The Tigers had some scoring opportunities early, but couldn't get into the endzone. One early drive ended with a missed 21 yard field goal attempt by Andrew Bennett after Dewayne Larramore had recovered a Bulldog fumble.
Liberty County put together a 16 play 80 yard drive following the missed field goal attempt for the game’s first score. Harold Armstrong drove into the endzone from the one yard line. Marco Espinoza-Solis added the extra point for a 7-0 lead midway the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Armstrong scored from eight yards out for the Bulldogs second score to cap off another 80 yard drive, this one taking 13 plays.
Espinoza-Solis' extra point gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead in this defensive struggle with two minutes remaining in the third period.
After keeping the Bulldogs out of the endzone foloowing another long drive in the fourth quarter, the Tigers put together an impressive 11 play 76 yard drive capped off by an 11 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hunter Jordan to Alex Mayorga. Bennett's PAT cut Liberty County's lead to 14-7 with :26 seconds left on the clock.
Tiger players were obviously emotional after the loss, but at least they held their heads up, congratulated Liberty County players and coaches and did it with good sportsmanship unlike Holmes County players the previous Friday night in Bonifay.
Hunter Jordan had a good night passing completing 8 of 19 for 117 yards, one touchdown and giving up one interception. Jordan also added 33 yards on 11 rushes. Javakiel Brigham, who had a great season for the Tigers, also rushed for 33 yards on 11 carries. Mayorga added 10 yards on 5 carries
and Corin Peterson had one run for 9 yards.
“We started one senior on defense and three on offense. We should be much better next year,” Jordan noted.
Josh Taylor had 3 receptions for 52 yards and Ryan Hathcox caught 3 passes for 27 yards. Mayorga had 2 catches for 38 yards including the 27 yard touchdown grab. The Tigers rushed for 81 yards on 31 carries against the tough Bulldog defense and added 117 thru the air for 198 total yards of offense.
The Bulldogs finished with 208 yards of offense including 153 yards on the ground and 55 thru the air. Alex Marlowe ran the ball 12 times for 54 yards including a long run of 20 yards. Harold Armstrong added 36 yards on 10 carries including the two touchdowns. Dustin Watson ran for 23 yards on 10 attempts while Ben Beckwith rushed for 30 yards on 8 carries. Terryal Jenkins added 10 yards on 3 carries.
Watson completed 3 of 9 passes for 55 yards and had one interception. The Tigers were missing starter Dylan Lee who had led the team in tackles for several games.
Anthony Wyrick led the Tiger defense with 10 tackles including half a sack and half a tackle for loss. Corin Peterson was in on 8 tackles followed by Brigham and CJ Hiers with 7 each. Dewayne Larramore was in on 6 tackles including half a sack and half a tackle for loss. Stephen Matthews, Jordan and Shon Peterson were each in on 3 tackles. Bobby Andrews, TrippTaylor, Tanner Peacock, Justin Mayorga and Josh Taylor were all in on defensive plays.
For the tough Bulldog defense, Michael Robinson was the leader with 11 tackles followed by Stedman Dawson with 7.