MARIANNA — Two of the area’s most decorated football coaches watched their respective teams slug it out Friday night.
In the end, it was Marianna’s Tim Cokely who got the upper hand over Blountstown’s Greg Jordan at least for one night in a 14-6 win for the host Bulldogs.
Marianna squelched Blountstown’s four-game winning streak and improved to 6-1. The Tigers, meanwhile, fell to 4-2.
Cokely is in his first season leading Marianna’s football program, but he previously enjoyed rampant success at North Florida Christian with six state championships. Jordan has guided Blountstown to the state playoffs in each of the past eight seasons.
Both coaches utilized numerous players on the offensive side of the ball, and Marianna simply came up with bigger plays to eke out a hard-fought victory.
Freshman quarterback Herman Williams accounted for 166 yards of offense and passed for two touchdowns to power the Bulldogs. Aside from a few mental hiccups, Williams looked like he’s getting comfortable running Cokely’s spread offense.
Marianna’s defense made its most important stand of the night in the game’s waning minutes. Blountstown faced first-and-goal from the Marianna 9 but eventually turned the ball over on downs with 1 minute, 40 seconds remaining in the game. The Bulldogs proceeded to run out the clock to secure the victory.
That was the sixth drive for Blountstown’s offense that ended with disappointment in Marianna’s half of the field.
Williams passed for 95 yards and ran for another 71. Teammate Teon Long added 61 rushing yards on 15 carries, and receiver Jamel Johnson added four receptions for 58 yards.
Marianna carried a 14-6 lead into the locker room at halftime thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Williams, who completed 7 of 10 passes for 77 yards through two quarters.
Williams located Johnson on a 27-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead just 85 seconds into the game. Marianna kicked off to open the game but recovered the football at Blountstown’s 29. Williams threw his first touchdown pass three plays later.
Blountstown used some deception to pull within 7-6 with four minutes left in the opening quarter. Hunter Jordan threw a lateral pass behind the line of scrimmage to Corin Peterson, who then heaved a ball downfield to wide open Ryan Hathcox in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers missed the extra point, though, and still trailed by a point.
Williams’ second touchdown pass gave the Bulldogs some breathing room just before halftime. He quickly slinged the ball outside to receiver Roderick Copeland, who navigated his way through a wave of Tiger pursuers for a 13-yard touchdown and a 14-6 lead.
Blountstown was fortunate to trail by just one possession at halftime. The Tigers stopped Marianna on four plays inside the Blountstown 6 late in the first quarter. A penalty for illegal motion negated Jock Wooden’s 1-yard touchdown run for Marianna.
Hunter Jordan completed 12 of 22 passes for 126 yards, and he also ran for 62 yards on nine attempts. Hathcox reeled in five receptions for 57 yards.
- Blountstown 6 0 0 0 — 6
- Marianna 7 7 0 0 — 14
- Mar: Johnson 27 pass from Williams (Meadows kick)
- Blo: Hathcox 17 pass from Peacock (kick failed)
- Mar: Copeland 13 pass from Williams (Meadows kick)
- INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
- RUSHING — Blountstown: Jordan 9-62, Brigham 11-33, Mayorga 3-7, Taylor 1-1, Andrews 1-1, Peterson 1-(minus-2), Middlebrooks 1-(minus-4). Marianna: Williams 5-71, Long 15-61, Knowles 5-2, Wooden 1-1.
- PASSING — Blountstown: Jordan 12-22-0 126, Peacock 1-1-0 17, Peterson 0-1-0 0. Marianna: Williams 9-16-1 95.
- RECEIVING — Blountstown: Hathcox 5-57, Brigham 2-37, Taylor 4-32, Mayorga 1-12, Andrews 1-5. Marianna: Johnson 4-58, Copeland 3-34, Long 1-4, Pittman 1-(minus-1).