FSHAA CHAMPS: Ft. Meade wins 1A title

Senior running back Brian Whitehurst ran for 219 yards on just 13 carries to lead the Miners to a 42-38 win over Blountstown in "The Swamp" Thursday afternoon. The victory gave Ft. Meade its first ever FHSAA Class A State Championship.. The Polk County school had lost all of its six previous state title attempts including a 40-28 decision to Blountstown in 1973. state title six attempts, including a 40-28 decision to the Tigers in 1973.

Whitehurst's first carry of the game was good for a 40 yard touchdown. He broke loose for two more scores on runs of 60 and 18 yards. The 5-10, 195-pound tailback accounted for 130 of the Miners 133 rushing yards at the half.

The Blountstown offense controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the first quarter. The Tigers dominated the time of possession 10:03 to the Miners 1:57. Blountstown answered with a 23 yard touchdown strike from Michael Guilford to Jonathan Lockhart. The Tigers added a two point conversion to take an 8-7 lead.

Ft. Meade's Tony Huntley ran the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. However, despite running just five offensive plays, the Miners led 14-8 courtesy of the two big plays. Blountstown added a touchdown with 20 seconds remaining in the half courtesy of a Guilford three yard run.

The Miners came out in the third quarter and looked as though they might begin to pull away from the Tigers. After sophomore Victor Martin recovered a Josh Lilly fumble the Miners quickly went to work. Quarterback Anthony Johnson hit Huntley for a 26 yard pass play, and two plays later called his own number from 12 yards out giving Ft. Meade a 29-16.

Blountstown clawed its way back as the Tigers running game moved into high gear. Running backs Arsenio Ivory and Chance Attaway each scored on runs of 18 and 55 respectively. Attaway finished the contest with 21 carries and 198 yards. The junior demonstrated good speed on his 55-yard scoring burst after Ft. Meade's Whitehurst had ripped off an 18-yard touchdown run of his own. Both of these go-to men were getting into a rhythm as the game played out.

The teams traded touchdowns the rest of the way. The Miners couldn't slow down the Tigers run attack, as Blountstown ran for 348 yards on the day. However, the Tigers couldn't prevent Ft. Meade from making big plays. The Miners scored on runs of 12, 18, 40, and 85. They also struck gold on a 50 yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Huntley.

Congratulations to Ft. Meade on their first ever championship. Congratulations are also due to a very strong Blountstown team which demonstrated a lot of heart and served notice statewide as to why they deserved to be in Gainesville.


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