A.C. Flora ended the night in celebration as the Falcons defeated Dreher 49-19 at Memorial Stadium on Friday to secure the No. 3 seed out of Region 4-3A and at least one more game.
“We’re sky high right now. We felt like coming in we had really been battle tested,” said coach Reggie Shaw, whose Falcons will face Clinton on the road in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
“Things were starting to come together, things were picking up for us.”
Strong play from Flora’s defense and special teams helped the Falcons (4-6, 2-3) earn the victory.
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Despite eight penalties and a third quarter in which the Falcons had possession for less than a minute, the Falcons dropped their rivals for the eighth consecutive year.
The Blue Devils had opened scoring, bulling their way into the end zone from 36 yards out on their first possession. Quarterback Avery Armstrong fueled the drive with 35 yards, including the 14-yard scoring run with three minutes off the clock.
But things went the Falcons’ way for much of the rest of the game.
On their second drive, Coleman Pope and Aven Pollard split the rushing duties to cover 40 yards. When a 10-yard penalty threatened to stall their drive as they crossed into Dreher territory, the Falcons overcame it with a 38-yard scoring completion from Brendan Greene to Denzel Johnson. The Jack McGrady point-after kick gave the Falcons a 7-6 lead.
Then came a Dreher turnover on downs near the 50. The Falcons made short work of the short field, when Greene sold the fake up the middle while Pollard rolled out right and loped 31 yards for the score.
The Blue Devils, who fumbled the ensuing kickoff, hung in for a while. With six minutes remaining in the first half, Armstrong slipped a tackle and rolled 20 yards to score. The two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Blue Devils in a two-point hole that would only grow.
Before the first half was over, the Falcons added two more touchdowns — after a failed Dreher onside kick attempt gave them possession at the 50, and after Tyler Gray’s interception set up another long catch-and-run touchdown from Johnson. The Falcons led 28-12 at the break.
Powered by the rushing of Armstrong, Dreher used nearly nine minutes and 16 plays to get into scoring position in the third quarter. With Dreher looking for a field goal on fourth-and-7 from the 14, the Falcons’ Dillon Smith blocked the kick, and Gray returned it more than 80 yards to score. The Falcons did not get an offensive possession until the final minute of the quarter, when they started a three-play, 56-second scoring drive that ended with a 44-yard Pope scoring reception.
Dreher (6-4, 2-3) finishes fourth in the region and must hope for an at-large bid to continue its season.
D — Avery Armstrong 14 rush (kick failed)
A — Denzel Johnson 38 pass from Brendan Greene (Jack McGrady kick)
A — Aven Pollard 31 run (McGrady kick)
D — Armstrong 20 run (pass failed)
A — Coleman Pope 22 run (McGrady kick)
A — Johnson 52 pass from Greene
A — Tyler Gray 80 blocked filed goal return (McGrady kick)
A — Pope 44 pass from Greene (McGrady kick)
A — Curtis Thomas 6 run (McGrady kick)
D — Lorenzo Ward 2 run (Wesley Mousseau kick)