A.C. Flora’s offense was clicking on all cylinders at Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
The crowd likely will talk about a pair of second-half, Jake Lewis-to-Shelton Whitaker touchdown passes in the Falcons’ 42-7 victory against Dreher.
“We’ve been very blessed to have some good receivers who can stretch the field,” Falcons coach Dean Howell said. “They were taking away some of the short stuff and giving us the long stuff and stopping the run, and we were able to hit some long passes.”
Whitaker’s three catches on the night totaled 150 yards for the Falcons (9-1 overall, 5-0 Region 4-3A). Lewis completed 8 of 12 passes for 258 yards and three scores.
That performance overshadowed a first half in which Lewis had completed three passes for 40 yards. A.C. Flora stayed on the ground in the first two quarters.
“We take what they’re giving us, Howell said. “Tonight, we were able to run the football on them and control the clock (in the first half). We’re going to call the plays that are open.”
When Dreher looked to shut down the running game, Flora took to the air.
Up 14-7 coming out of the half, Flora’s Lewis went deep, hitting Whitaker in stride. Whitaker ran out the 69-yard scoring play.
R.J. Joyner scored on a 15-yard run to make it 28-7 late in the third. But early in the fourth quarter Lewis found Whitaker for a 70-yard catch-and-run to make it 35-7.
Late in the game, Juwan Simon stretched Lewis’ shovel pass into a 40-yard scoring play.
“We played 24 minutes of pretty good football,” Dreher coach Josh Stepp said. “We didn’t finish tonight. We didn’t execute like we needed to. We put some really good drives together but we couldn’t finish them.”
The Falcons took a 7-0 lead at the 1:33 mark of the first quarter when Aven Pollard rushed into the end zone from 10 yards out to close an 80-yard ground drive.
Flora went up 14-0 at the 7:21 mark of the second quarter, moving 78 yards on 10 plays. Pollard capped that drive with a 7-yard run.
Dreher (7-3, 2-3) had little trouble moving the ball. Scoring was more difficult.
On their first possession, the Blue Devils drove to the Flora 17, only to fumble the ball away.
Dreher could have scored on a 31-yard pass play on a later drive, but the receiver dropped the ball on the goal line.
The Blue Devils finally scored on a long drive to close out the half. They took the ball at their 23 and moved to the Flora 13. Howard Henderson found Tyrek Outler wide open on the left side for a 13-yard TD pass that cut Flora’s lead to 14-7 going into intermission.
A – Pollard 10 run (Brown kick) 1:33
A – Pollard 7 run (Brown kick) 7:21
D – Outler 13 pass from Henderson (Mousseau kick) :51
A – Whitaker 69 pass from Lewis (Brown kick) 10:38
A – Joyner 15 run (Brown kick) 4:53
A – Whitaker 70 pass from Lewis (Brown kick) 11:14
A – Simon 40 pass from Lewis (Brown kick) 3:35
RUSHING – Dreher, Ward 15-91, Frazier 4-15, Corbin 4-26, Outler 4-41, Henderson, 1-(-9). AC Flora, Joyner 8-59, Simon 4-31, Lewis 6-35, Pollard 6-59, Washington 3-6, Drayton 1-35.
PASSING – Dreher, Henderson 45-24-1. AC Flora, Lewis 12-8-0 .
RECEIVING – Dreher, Taylor 8-112, Ward 3-17, Outler 7-51, Smalls 1-2, Lemmons 3-33, Frazier 2-13. AC Flora, Pollard 2-29, Whitaker 3-150, Carlton 1-9, Roach 1-30, Simon 1-40.