CHIPLEY — Just about every football fan has heard the cliché “offense wins games, defense wins championships.” there is good reason for that. It’s true.
Chipley’s defense will face a stern test from Jefferson County in Friday’s 6 p.m. CST Rural Class 1A state football championship game in Orlando. Jefferson County (8-5) possesses an offense with a 2,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver and it likely will be one of the fastest teams the Tigers have faced this season.
That Jefferson County also represents the biggest game of the season makes the challenge even more daunting. Jefferson County averages 27 points per game, but that figure is skewed by a schedule featuring larger classification schools. Against 1A opponents, Jefferson County averages 41 points.
Chipley counters with a large defensive line. some of those players may be replaced on the field for a “quicker” package to protect against Jefferson County spreading the field. Chipley coach Rob Armstrong said the first aim is to stop the run, but quarterback Lanorris Footman has passed for nearly 2,000 yards.
The best plan? Hit them hard, defensive back James Voorhees said.
“we have to hit them at the line before they get going,” Voorhees said. “Then we have to stay focused and everyone needs to do their jobs.”
That includes covering wide receivers and spying the backfield for big plays. Voorhees said the backbone of the defense is the line, which features three senior starters.
Chipley’s linebackers also have some brawn, including Kobe McCrary, who doubles as the team’s leading rusher. He’s usually difficult to bring down by just one defender and makes his presence felt when he’s on defense. Quarterback Josh Myers floats at various defensive positions where needed and Ryan McIntyre, one of the team’s fastest players, can roam in the defensive backfield.
Chipley has produced big games on defense as well as big plays in clutch situations during its three-game playoff run.
Chipley stopped Blountstown on several tries inside the 35-yard line to seal a regional semifinal win. it bottled up a potent Holmes County offense in a 27-6 victory for the Region 2 title and halted Northview with a recovered fumble at the 21 last week as the clock melted away.
“every week you just need to get better,” Armstrong said. “And make the other team make mistakes.”
Improvement has come on a continued basis, defensive lineman Taylor Smelcer said. Chipley’s weakness was on defense entering the season with the loss of several starters. It’s come together and held opponents to 13 points per game.
“the defense stepped after we lost a lot of seniors from last year,” Smelcer said. “They’re (Jefferson County) fast, but we need to continue to do what we do and play well.”
If Chipley does so, it could return home with its first state title.
“it would mean everything if we did that,” Voorhees said.
<a href="http://www.newsherald.com/sports/chipley-5401-eemcvarsity-faces-jefferson.htmltag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.newsherald.com/sports/chipley-5401-eemcvarsity-faces-jefferson.htmlThu, 08 Dec 2011 21:38:18 GMT">Chipley defense faces stern test in quick Jefferson County