SAND HILLS— Here we go again.
That’s the thought that flashed through the mind of Port St. Joe coach Greg Jordan as he watched Bozeman’s quarterback Jordan Rosalis send one sailing toward the end zone in the final minute of the first half.
“Because the last three weeks we’ve given up a touchdown on the last offensive drive of the opposing team going into halftime,” Jordan said.
Not this time. Port St. Joe senior Octavious Russ intercepted the pass just outside the end zone to preserve his team’s seven-point lead going into the break.
It took a while, but the Tiger Sharks finally pulled away in the fourth quarter to claim the 35-14 victory at Bozeman in the quarterfinals of the Region 2-1A playoffs on Friday night.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
His interception halted a Bozeman drive that seemed destined to score after the Bucks kept it alive by drawing the Tiger Sharks offsides on fourth down. Russ came inches from recording a second interception later in the game and managed to prevent several completions by getting his hand on the football almost every time it came his way.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
That’s the number of Port St. Joe drives that ended with a turnover in the third quarter.
First, Bozeman senior Walker Morris recovered a fumble to give the Bucks possession at midfield.
Then fellow senior Jared Miller returned an interception 35 yards to give the Bucks the ball on the Port St. Joe 40-yard line.
Bucks junior Jackson Gay recovered yet another fumble to give Bozeman the ball back on its 19-yard line. Only the first fumble recovery was cashed in for points when Rosalis scored on a 1-yard rush.
“I don’t know that I’ve had a stronger bond, a stronger affection for a group of young men in my career than I have for this group of young men right here and this group of seniors. I couldn’t be more proud of how they’ve fought the whole season. All the ups and downs, all they battled back to overcome to really put Bozeman on the map a little bit this year.”
- Bozeman coach Jason Griffin
With 4:34 left in the game, Bozeman needed 3 yards to convert on fourth down. Bozeman junior Brandon Meier was open much further than that down the sideline, but Rosalis’ pass went over his head only to fall harmlessly to the ground.
Port St. Joe scored for the final time four plays later when senior Demarion Gray scored on a 16-yard run.
Port St. Joe will face Blountstown on the road on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a spot in the regional finals on the line. Blountstown defeated Port St. Joe earlier this season 35-7 on Oct. 4.