(WMBB) – The Blountstown and Liberty County football teams haven’t met on the football field since 2019, but that changes on Friday night.
Another installment of the Apalachicola River Rivalry is happening and there’s more than bragging rights on the line this time.
The 8-1 Tigers and 9-2 Bulldogs are meeting up in the 1A regional semifinals, the winner moves on in the playoffs and the loser is done.
“We’re one win away from getting from getting to practice and spend Thanksgiving week together and that’s a big thing for us and it doesn’t mean that’s the end. I mean, you want to win that week, too, but I think any high school coach will tell you if you get to Thanksgiving week, anything that happens after that’s kinda great, but you’ve come a long way and a great job to get to that point,” Blountstown head coach Beau Johnson said.
The Bulldogs are coming into this one after battling it out with Sneads in the regional quarterfinals. The Bulldogs got the one point victory over the Pirates to advance.
Liberty County head coach Greg Jordan said they are really just happy to be playing in this game because before last week, his group of seniors had never played in a playoff game. In fact, they had never won more than two games in a season.
“Our kids have done everything that we’ve asked them to do this year. They’ve answered the bell. The last couple weeks when things have gotten tough when the team we had last year probably would not have been able to do that, but so, you know, these kids have demonstrated some mental toughness and they’re going to need a lot of that this week going across the bridge,” Jordan said.
The last time these two teams met up was in 2019, the same year the Tigers were crowned state runners-up. Blountstown shut out the Bulldogs 57-0 in that game.
“You know, Blountstown-Liberty was a big rivalry a while back, but the last three matchups here has been pretty lopsided. Our guys, they understand that, but we’re just trying to be relevant when it comes playoff time here now, and hopefully our kids believe they can compete and deserve to be there,” Jordan said.
Both coaches think it’s going to come down to the fundamentals in this game.
“If you want to win, then you better block and tackle well, and then make those 50/50 plays. We feel good about the wars we’ve been in with the battles and the people. But, you know, the football karma gods really don’t care what your record is or who you’ve played. This Friday night, the team that blocks the best and tackles the best and wins those 50/50 balls is gonna win the game,” Johnson said.
This game will kick off at 7 p.m. CT at Bowles Field on Friday night.