Jefferson County Tigers Preview: (9-5), District 5 Champions
HEAD COACH: Jeremy Brown (2nd year)
PLAYERS: RB Alphonso Footman 5-10 183 Sr.; QB Lenorris Footman 5-9 175 Jr.; WR Ladarion Smiley 5-9 155 So.; OL/DL Denzel Whitfield 6-6 255 Sr.; DL Kenny Madison 5-10 185 So.; OL/DL Iran Francis 5-11 210 Jr.; LB Jacob Pugh 6-3 215 So.; LB Levi Cobb 5-10 200 Sr.
BREAKDOWN: Tigers are making their first state championship appearance since 1991 when Jeff Co defeated Frostproof, 12-0 in the 2A final. QB Vann Washington who later would play DB at West Virginia, was the star of that team. Washington lost his life in a car accident and according to coach Jeremy Brown, will have his jersey number retired in a ceremony at school.
Jefferson County was defeated by Warner Christian in last season’s Class 1B semifinal. Brown arrived prior to the 2009 season and worked under Willie Spears for a season before Spears took the Live Oak Suwannee job. Their efforts have turned around what had become a chronically underachieving program over the past decade. Brown’s father was the head coach at Springfield Rutherford prior to Steve Hardin’s arrival. Brown also coached under John Peacock at Venice High.
Alphonso Footman enters the state final with over 2,100 rushing yards. Not bad for a converted wide receiver. Current Iowa State freshman DeVondrick Nealy rushed for 2,743-39 for Jeff Co last season. Lenorris Footman has apparently recovered from a broken knee cap incurred during track season. Footman has passed for about 1,700 yards and has over 6,600 career passing yards in his three seasons as a starter. OL/DL Denzel Whitfield has reported offers from Iowa State and Kentucky. Jefferson County made it a point to play up this season. Three of the teams that beat them (NFC, Wakulla, Madison County), are still playing.
PLAYOFF RUN: Tigers routed Hawthorne, 38-0 in first round. Alphonso Footman ran for 156-3. Jeff Co then pummeled previously unbeaten Trenton, 56-19 in region final and accumulated 445 yards of total offense with A. Footman rushing for 196. Tigers then ended another perfect season after defeating top-ranked Union County, 27-6. Alphonso ran for 29-146 and Lenorris threw for 6-9-133-2. Tigers held LBUC to just 29 rushing yards.
Chipley Tigers Preview: (9-5), District 5 Champions
HEAD COACH: Rob Armstrong
PLAYERS: RB Kobe McCrary 6-1 210 So.; RB/DB Ryan McIntyre 5-11 180 Sr.; OL Taylor Smelcer 6-5 300 Sr.; DB/RB James Voorhees 5-11 175 Sr.
BREAKDOWN: Chipley was 1A-3 runnerup to Bonifay Holmes. Tigers have defeated three district champs (Vernon, Holmes, and Northview) to get here. McCrary and McIntyre have now combined for close to 3,000 rushing yards. Armstrong was not sure of exact numbers last week. OL Smelcer is most likely best OL in 1A and has offers from MTSU and South Alabama.
Tigers consider themselves lucky to be here after their oddysey last week. The team bus broke down on Interstate 10 outside DeFuniak Springs due to a flat tire. The bus caught fire and although all the equipment was salvaged, numerous personal items were lost. The team crammed into the band bus and arrived at Northview at 7:10 p.m. after leaving school around 4 p.m. On the way home on I-10, a drunk driver heading west in the eastbound lane nearly hit the team bus which had to make a quick swerve onto the shoulder to avoid a head-on wreck.
PLAYOFF RUN: Tigers beat Blountstown, 34-33 after overcoming 13-point deficit. QB Josh Myers scored on a 4th-and-3 with :29 remaining before team converted 2-point conversion. McCrary ran for 188-3. Tigers avenged regular season 34-14 loss with a 27-6 victory against Bonifay Holmes in second round. McCrary ran for 162-1, McIntyre 93-1 and defense held Kodi Russ to 36 rushing yards. Chipley captured state final berth after defeating Bratt Northview, 25-21 after falling behind 14-0 after late arrival. Myers connected on a 53-yard TD pass to McIntyre with 1:11 remaining. McIntyre ran for 221-4 that included a 73-yd TD run. Chipley caught a break with standout Northview QB Brandon Sheets sitting out due to suspension for two unsportsmanlike penalties in region final against Freeport.