Out of the heat of the road and into the frying pan that is top-ranked Blountstown for the Tiger Sharks.
The Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High football team opened the Florida High School Athletics Association Region 1-1A playoffs last weekend with a 35-14 road win at Bozeman.
The win improved Port St. Joe’s record to 5-6 as the Tiger Sharks head to a region semifinal matchup with Class 1A No. 1 in the polls Blountstown.
The Tigers won the Sunshine State Athletic Conference North League.
As for the Tiger Sharks, Coach Greg Jordan said his team looked much like it has all season against Bozeman, a team without a lot of football experience and struggling a bit with injuries.
“We played about like we have all season, good in spurts and bad in spurts,” Jordan said.
“The bad side is that we had four turnovers and nine penalties.
“But the good side is despite all that we still scored 35 points and held them to 14.”
Jordan noted that Port St. Joe, in reaching the quarterfinals of the FHSAA playoffs, had just survived a five-team stretch that few Class 1A team could match.
The streak included Graceville, Blountstown, Sneads, Baker and Vernon, a combined 30-3 (Sneads owns all the losses).
“The thing I tell the kids to hang their hats on is that out of a 12-team conference, we finished fourth and that is about where we should have been,” Jordan said.
The Tiger Sharks dominated the statistics against Bozeman.
Port St. Joe rushed for 305 yards on 398 carries (7.8 yards per) while holding the Bucks to 93 yards on 30 carries.
Overall, the offensive net yards tilted to Port St. Joe 362-241, though Bozeman actually had an advantage in offensive plays and time of possession.
Quarterback Colin Amison carried over from the 3-yard line to get Port St. Joe on the board midway through the opening period, the extra point kick was no good and it was 6-0 Port St. Joe.
A 5-yard touchdown pass and extra point kick put Bozeman up 7-6 just before halftime.
Nick Jefferson rushed for an 11-yard touchdown midway through the second period and added the two-point conversion to make it 14-7 at halftime.
Amison hit Arden Wiser for 34 yards and a touchdown early in the second half, Christian Logan’s extra point was good and it was 21-7.
A 4-yard touchdown run, and extra point kick, brought Bozeman within 21-14 midway through the third period, but Port St. Joe added two fourth-quarter touchdowns to seal the game.
Dakota Quinn scored on a 16-yard touchdown run, Logan adding the extra point, and Damarion Gray added another 16-yard touchdown run, Logan adding the extra point to make it 35-14.
Aiden Gainer had 93 yards on eight carries to lead eight different ball carriers for Port St. Joe.
Bubba Ash added 75, Jefferson 41, Quinn 36 and Amison 22.
Amison was 3 of 6 in the air for 57 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions