CHIPLEY — The last time Chipley started the year winning its first three games, the season finished with a trip to Orlando for the 1A state title game. The Tigers reached 3-0 Friday night for the first time since that 2011 season, though they still have a long way to go and much work to do to get back to Orlando.
Chipley jumped out to a fast start Friday against visiting Bozeman, taking a 28-0 halftime lead and coasting to a 28-6 victory. The Bucks dropped to 1-2 on the season and next play host to Sneads on Friday. The Tigers travel to Vernon on Friday.
Kelvin Dean led Chipley with 11 rushes for 77 yards and two touchdowns, while Mason Cook completed 3 of 3 passes for 67 yards and added a rushing touchdown. Jordan Speed rushed for 32 yards on 11 carries, with Andrew Lawton gaining 36 yards on six attempts and adding a punt block and return for a touchdown as well.
A rushing touchdown by Dean on Chipley’s opening drive made it 7-0, with Bozeman’s first series ending in a blocked punt by Lawton, who picked it up and returned it for another score for a 13-0 advantage. Another touchdown run by Dean in the second quarter followed by a two-point conversion gave Chipley a 21-0 edge, with a 2-yard scoring run by Cook making it 28-0 at the break. Bozeman got on the board in the final two minutes of the fourth with a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Cameron Hoffmeister.
“We’re happy to get the win and glad to be 3-0, but we’ve got another big game next week with Vernon,” Chipley coach Blake Wilson said. “We feel good to be 3-0, but we’ve got a lot of stuff we can improve on if we’re going to continue to keep winning.”
Lawton had six tackles for the Chipley defense, with Zac Wilson also making six stops. Sophomore defensive tackle Jaidon Dorsey had a big night for the Bozeman defense with five tackles for loss. The rest of the Bozeman players in the trenches, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, struggled to match the strength and physicality of Chipley, Bucks coach Lyle Messer said.
“I would just say the physicality of the game or the youthfulness and lack of experience (of Bozeman) was really exposed,” he said. “They were the much more physical team. We just had a difficult time getting them blocked up front. Defensively we played much better in the second half. We had chances to make some plays that would’ve caused the momentum to swing and we didn’t. We weren’t able to get it done.”