It was twenty years in the making. For the first time since 1991 the Jefferson County Tigers can finally call themselves State Champions with a resounding victory over the Chipley Tigers in the first 1A rural state title game, 47-13. The Jefferson County Tigers offense was stymied early on with several penalties while Chipley held high powered Jefferson County to 7 points in the first half.
After a hard fought see-saw battle, the third quarter proved to be the breaking point for Chipley. The Tigers came undone when Jefferson County managed to pound their way into the end-zone which gave way to an offensive onslaught that saw 26 unanswered points. Starting with a bruising run by senior running-back Alphonso Footman, Jefferson County showed the offensive firepower that had been the teams trademark throughout the 2011 season.
Quarterback and little brother Lennoris, got in on the act with a 22 yard scoring run and a 31 yard touchdown pass to Ladarian Smiley. Smiley added the exclamation point with an electrifying 72 yard punt return. After a mere 12 minutes Jefferson County put the game out of reach at the end of the third quarter, 33-7.
Chipley was unable to find an answer for the tough Jefferson County defense that held the Tigers to just 54 yards rushing in the second half. With the Jefferson County starters out of the game Chipley was able to add a late score, but the celebration had already begun for the Tigers.
“Four charter buses, two school buses and a bunch of cars… This ain’t a bad turnout for little ol’ Monticello…”, said Jefferson County head coach Jeremy Brown when asked about the multitude of supporters that cheered the Tigers on and nearly filled the lower east portion of the Citrus Bowl. Brown went on to say, “When you get a group of kids together and love up on them and get the support of the community anything is possible.”