A.C. Flora fell in a deep hole early against visiting Swansea, but it didn't stop the the Falcons from notching their second consecutive victory, a 21-17 decision against the Tigers.
“We came out slow, and Swansea came to play,” A.C. Floracoach Reggie Shaw said. “ We had to battle back, and I think it’s good to win games where you’re down.”
Swansea started the game with the ball and scored on its third play from scrimmage when quarterback Clay Lucas found Craig Johnson, who caught the ball around the 50 yard line and made several defenders miss as he outran everyone for the 81-yard score 1:29 into the game. It was the first points allowed on the season by Flora, which defeated Clinton 27-0 in Week 0.
Following a three-and-out by the Falcons, Swansea had another big play by Chance Walker, who took the handoff 45 yards for the score, putting the Tigers up 14-0 with five minutes left in the first quarter. Walker would end the game with seven rushes for a team-high 64 yards.
“We had that deer-in-the-headlights look and it felt like I was watching (South) Carolina all over again tonight,” Shaw said.
Flora would end up tying the game with 2:14 left in the second quarter on a 3rd-and-goal play from the one when Lowndes Pope, a 6-foot-3, 214 pound tight end, took the handoff and punched it making a tie game heading into the second half.
After the half, both teams’ defenses started to control the game as the two squads traded punts, as well as a healthy amount of banter, for the duration of the third quarter. Tensions came to a boil when, on a 3rd-and-1 play, Johnson drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play was over, forcing another punt. The quarter was relatively quiet in terms of the scoreboard, except for a 39-yard field goal by Swansea kicker Yunuem Pena.
The final frame was mostly dominated by the Falcons, who controlled the quarter by drawing time off the clock and putting long drives together. Their final scoring drive put them in the lead for good as quarterback Brendan Greene tossed a ball to a wide-open Michael Aminoe, who walked into the end zone untouched.
Swansea made several late desperation attempts in the last quarter, including a fake-punt pass that landed harmless in the secondary.
The game was capped when Lucas fumbled a handoff with two minutes left that was recovered by A.C. Flora’s Donald Gist.
“We started out like a ball of fire,” Swansea coach Chad Leaphart said. “We had a couple of things in the night that cost us and that can add up. We were excited, but, at the same time, I think some of those things cost us.”
The Tigers will play host to Chapin next week, while A.C. Flora will get a week off before travelling to Columbia on Sept. 12.
S–Craig Johnson 81 pass from Clay Lucas (Pena kick), 10:31
S–Walker 47 rush (Pena kick), 5:05
ACF–Denzel Johnson 8 pass from Brenden Greene (Charlton kick), 1:31
ACF–Greene 1 rush (Charlton kick), 2:14
S–Yunuem Pena 39 field goal, 4:10
ACF–Michael Aimone 25 pass from Greene (Charlton kick), 8:35
Rushing– A.C. Flora, Coleman Cope 13-34; Swansea, Chance Walker 7-46, 1 TD
Passing– A.C. Flora, Brenden Greene 158 8-16-1; Swansea Clay Lucas 174 10-19-0
Receiving–A.C. Flora, M. Aimone 3-80, 1 TD; Swansea Craig Johnson 6-120, 1 TD