CHIPLEY – It’s been a decade since the Chipley football team has been to the region finals of the state playoffs, but this week they get to play in that big matchup once again.
The Tigers take on the Baker Gators on Friday night for a chance to punch their ticket to the Final Four of the 1A bracket.
“Really, you gotta know we didn’t luck up and get here, we didn’t backdoor our way here or get in here on some fluke or trick, these kids have worked hard for a long time, these coaches have worked hard for a long time so we can be in a situation like this,” Chipley head coach Marcus Buchanan said.
The Tigers definitely deserve their spot in this game. They have a record of 8-3 and in the regional semifinals game against Holmes County, they put up 40 points in the first half on the Blue Devils.
“It means a lot, we can say we’re a top team around here, a lot of teams not playing right now, Vernon, Bonifay, we just knocked them out, so it means a lot,” Chipley senior Alsethony Mcghee said.
However, Friday’s matchup will be no walk in the park.
They take on a 8-2 Baker team that has been running all over their opponents this season. They have 3,331 yards on the ground, 1,804 of them coming from one of the state’s leading rushers, Kayleb Wagner.
“Baker doesn’t lose many games in Baker, they haven’t lost since 2017 in Baker, in the last decade, they may have lost six games at home so it’s a tough place to go play and it’s a tall order for us to get on that cheese wagon Friday and go do it,” Buchanan said.
Facing such a talented Gators team on their home field might be a football player’s worst nightmare, but some Chipley players have dreamed about it for a long time.
“Well actually I’m excited to play them because me and my dad have always talked about going to Baker on Thanksgiving week, we’ve predicted this three years ago. He said one night I’m gonna go over there and play Baker and to see it like shape up this way, I have a chance to play a great team and hopefully knock em off and be the team they were last year so,” Chipley player Will Taylor said.
The Tigers are laser-focused on the task at-hand and this week’s message is a simple one.
“Let’s just make history, don’t be scared, they are a great team but so are we, let’s go out there play our game and hopefully come out on top,” Taylor said.
The Baker and Chipley game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.