GRACEVILLE — It went down to the final seconds, but the Graceville Tigers (8-2, 4-0 conference) pulled off a one-point win over the Chipley Tigers when Graceville’s Toquille Franklin’s point-after kick split the uprights dead center to give his team a 42-41 non-conference victory.
The Chipley Tigers were trailing 35-33 at the start of the 4th quarter, but Chipley’s go-to guy, junior Kobe McCrary, scrambled 70 yards on the second play of the quarter to score. Junior quarterback Jordan Finch connected with junior Dillon Ussery in the end zone for the PAT to flip the score and put the Chipley squad ahead 41-35.
Chipley (4-6, 1-2 conference) managed to hang on to the lead until Graceville took possession with 2:41 left to play from the Chipley 46-yard line. Graceville’s workhorse, senior Cameron Graham, gained the first 4 yards of the drive, then freshman Preston Nichols took the Graceville squad to the Chipley 35-yard line.
Sophomore quarterback Jared Padgett added 2 more, then after a couple of incomplete pass attempts, Graham got ahold of the ball again and zipped toward the end zone, being forced out of bounds at the 5-yard mark. Graham then carried the ball up the middle, only to be stymied by the Chipley defense at the 1-yard mark. Not to be deterred, Graham took the ball on the next play and repeated his up-the-middle drive to score, tying the teams at 41-41 with only 39 seconds left on the clock.
Franklin’s kick broke the tie, and Chipley was left with only seconds on the clock and a one-point deficit. The Chipley squad made a good try at a come back, but were only able to reach the Graceville 34 yard line before the clock ran out.
The game opened in a salvo of touchdowns, with Chipley getting on the board within the first two minutes, only to have Graceville’s Graham return the favor about one minute later.
The Chipley Tigers responded to Graham’s score with a 90-yard kick return by junior Dallas Oliver to give Chipley a 13-7 edge. Fletcher Dillmore’s point-after kick was wide, and the Chipley Tigers held on to until the 3:44 mark when sophomore Jarrett Brogdon scored from 1-yard out and Franklin kicked another field goal to give Graceville a 14-13 edge.
With 9:24 left to play in the half, Padgett called his own number and swept right for a 42-yard scramble, and Franklin was good for the extra point to give the Graceville Tigers a 21-13 lead. Chipley responded at the 6:32 mark with a 17-yard scoring run by McCrary. The two-point try was no good but the spread had closed to 21-19.
Then at the 4:33 mark, McCrary did it again, breaking through the Graceville line and running 48 yards to score. Dilmore’s kick was good and suddenly Chipley was leading 26-21.
The Chipley team found the end zone once more in the first half when sophomore Wyatt Brock charged up the middle from 4 yards out to score. The extra point kick was good and the Chipley Tigers went into the half with a 33-21 lead.
Graceville cut that lead down with 6:40 to play in the third quarter when Graham punched his way into the end zone from the 3-yard line. Franklin’s kick was dead on and the Chipley lead was down to 33-28. Graham scored again with 12 seconds left in the third, first blasting through the Chipley defense, dragging would-be tacklers with him as he raced from the 31-yard line to inside the 5, then tearing through the middle to score. Franklin was good for the kick, and Graceville was in control 35-33.
Chipley took the lead again in the opening seconds of the final quarter when McCrary sprinted 70-yards to score. Finch connected with Ussery in the end zone for the PAT, and with 11:47 to play, the Chipley Tigers led 39-35.