Liberty and Blountstown headed for playoff showdown
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Friday it’s round two of the state playoffs, and that certainly brings us some very interesting games between area teams, head to head. One such game is the one between 9-2 Liberty at 8-1 Blountstown. The Bulldogs coming off a thrilling 27-26 win over Sneads in round one last week. The Tigers, as the top seed in 1A Region 2, getting a bye last week, and Wednesday I asked Blountstown head coach Beau Johnson if he liked that week off or not?
“I see it both ways.” the coach replied. “We were able to get some kids healed up. You’re a little concerned about any rust or something that might set in, you know. But we had a pretty good trek there of having to play four, three and one. (ranked teams) So I think it did us good to get healed up and get ready for the playoffs.”
The Bulldogs, again coming off a thrilling one point win over Sneads in round one. Thus continuing an amazing rebuilding job Liberty head coach Greg Jordan’s done there in year two, the team won just 7 games the previous four seasons!
“We basically started from scratch.” coach Jordan told me. “From the weight room to how we practice. And just year-round things that we’re trying to do to build these kids up and help our program. And they’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. You know we’ve had a big turnaround from last year to this year. And the kids get all the credit, they’ve put in a ton of work. And you know the expectations have changed.”
As for this match up, well leading a team to Bowles Field is going to be challenging, though for Liberty’s coach, well let’s just say he’s familiar with the football atmosphere at Blountstown!
“Being from there, and having played there, and having coached there 12 years as a head coach, it’s a special place.” says Jordan. “And when it gets to be playoff football time, there’s a not much better environment. The way that field is constructed, you’re able to get right on top of the field, as a spectator, and get right top of the action. It’s a great environment.”
And for coach Johnson, well this is an exciting time, and also a somewhat bittersweet time for coaches and players. “You hate it for any of these seniors, at any of these schools, because of the finality of what’s going on is setting in. This isn’t tennis, it isn’t golf. A lot of these seniors, if not 95 percent of them, when your time is over, you’ll never play high school football, or any padded football ever again. That’s the tough part about this time of year. But it’s a great, exciting time of year, it’s fun.”
The Tigers working with a 13 year playoff appearance streak, that includes three state final appearances. Friday’s game set for 7 o’clock, and those wanting a good seat better get there early, because a large crowd is expected. We will have the highlights in our late news Friday night.
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