GRACEVILLE, FL (WJHG/WECP) For the Graceville Tigers, it's one down, and four to go. Four more wins are necessary for the Tigers to reach the ultimate goal of winning a 1A state football title.
A round one playoff win over Freeport has Graceville getting set to face Baker in round two.
Coach Barry Gardner and his Tigers are practicing this week in advance of a 1A regional semifinal at Baker.
The Gators are the top seed in 1A region one, with a 9-1 record. So they get to host this game coming off a bye week. The Tigers meanwhile, well they certainly enjoyed playing last week in the region quarterfinals. After falling behind early at Freeport, the Tigers came on like gangbusters scoring 28 unanswered points in a first half rally. Two blocked punts helping that cause. All that leading to a 40-13 win, an 8-3 mark and the berth in the region semifinal at Baker.
"Well we came out a little bit nervous (at Freeport) and didn't play well the first two series but after that, the offense and defense played pretty well." coach Gardner told me. "We played very hard. Made a couple of mistakes mentally but effort-wise was great. We've got a couple of things to clean up offensively and defensively, as far as assignment wise. But we're playing as hard as we've played all year which is important in the playoffs."
As for playing last Friday, as compared to Baker getting a bye week, well that was just fine with coach Gardner, especially given how well his team is playing at this point of the season.
"I've always liked playing on through because once you get a rhythm going, I don't like the off week in between." Gardner says. "I mean some people do, I do not. I'd rather play than be off. I don't like the bye week that late in the season. I think for us it's better to keep playing, especially when the team is already in rhythm.>
Baker's last time on the field, the Gators were beaten by Blountstown 33-7. So the Gators have had to think about that for nearly two weeks now. That game in Baker a 7:30 start, we'll have the highlights for you late Friday night.
Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.