Florence Huskies get snowed in second half
FLORENCE – After going down by 13 points in the second quarter, the Rifle High School football team scored 21 unanswered points and ground the Florence Huskies to a halt to advance in the 3A state playoffs Saturday.
The Bears beat the Huskies, 28-20, in the playoff opener at Palmer Field, shutting out the Florence offense in the second half and dominating the line of scrimmage.”I’m just speechless. The credit has to go to the kids; they played so hard, all game long,” said Rifle head coach Darrel Gorham.”It’s not just a great win for them, but for the whole community.”The Bears got on the board quickly after a Travis Jensen sack shut down the Southern Conference champions’ opening drive. On the punt, Huskies’ quarterback and punter Jeremy Young bobbled the snap, scooping it up only to be tackled at the Florence 1-yard line. Rifle’s Rocky Rauman went in on the next play and the Bears had a quick lead to quiet the crowd.As a wet snow began to fall, Florence put its offense in gear. After big runs from running backs Brandon Ridgeway and Levi McDowell, Young punched it in from the 3-yard line at 7:23 in the first quarter. Florence faked the kick, but the conversion failed.Rifle fumbled the ball on the next possession and Florence’s Rodney Marques recovered. Ridgeway, who finished the game with 137 yards, brought the Huskies downfield before capping the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run before another failed PAT.
Florence scored on a 67-yard pass from Young to Cody Bennett for the Huskies third TD, setting off the crowd and forcing Rifle to regroup. “You’ve got to give it to Florence; they came out strong. That quarterback is a really great kid,” Gorham said.”They have got a lot of tradition here, and they forced us to come together.”The Bears put together their first successful offensive drive on the next series, grinding out yards behind runs from Rauman, Dunlap, and Jordan Robinson. With 1:05 to go in the half, Rauman scored on fourth and goal and Kyle Sanderson’s kick made it 20-14 going into the locker room.After the break, the Bears shrugged off their early mistakes, pushing through the Huskies line and eating up the clock with consistent running.”Physically, they were better than we were offensively,” said Florence coach Mark Buderus.
“We struggled up front. We didn’t have a lot of big defensive plays and we had to stunt to make up size.”After trading the ball on the first two possessions of the half, Rauman, who finished with 141 yards on 36 carries, set up a Sanderson touchdown with 42 seconds left in the third quarter. The successful PAT gave the Bears a 1-point lead.The Huskies had their best chance of the second half on the following drive, but fumbled the ball away at Rifle 38-yard line. The Bears appeared to bog down, but Sanderson hit Zach LaCount on a screen for 35 yards, and Dunlap ran the ball inside the Florence 20-yard line. Sanderson went back to LaCount from the 16 for the final score.Florence finishes the season at 8-3.”This team has some great character and we got some great leadership from our seniors,” Gorham said. “Obviously this is just one game, but our kids wanted to do well, and showed how much they want to advance.”Rifle (8-3) hosts Conifer in the 3A quarterfinals on Saturday. Conifer (10-1) defeated Silver Creek, 20-13, to advance.Rifle (8-3) hosts Conifer in the 3A quarterfinals on Saturday. Conifer (10-1) defeated Silver Creek, 20-13, to advance.
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