It’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish.
A.C. Flora is finishing with a flurry after a 28-14 victory over Dreher on Friday night. It marked the fifth-consecutive win for the Falcons, who opened the year 1-4.
“Our seniors made a decision after those first four games, they were not going out like that,” A.C. Flora head coach Reggie Shaw said. “Credit to the players, credit to the coaches. We made some changes and guys bought in.”
After giving up more than 30 points per game in their last four contests, the Falcons’ defense set the tone early, forcing a turnover on downs on Dreher’s first possession. Flora held the running back duo of Anthony Salters and Jay Washington to 78 yards on 20 carries.
Dreher’s defense was equal to the challenge early, but Flora senior Lane Botkin took a punt 65 yards for a touchdown to give the Falcons a two-touchdown lead.
“I got some great blocking up front, and just made some guys miss,” Botkin said.
Dreher cut the Falcons’ lead to 14-7 before the half when Matthew Campbell rushed for a 6-yard touchdown run.
The teams traded long pass plays in the third, but it was the Flora defense that again stopped the Blue Devils on downs to seal the game.
A.C. Flora will face Chapin next week with the region championship on the line.
“It’s been two years since we have been in this position. The guys are excited,” Shaw said.
With 9:09 left in the fourth quarter, Dreher went for it on fourth down rather than punt from the A.C. Flora 46-yard line. The Blue Devils were stopped in the backfield, turning the ball over on downs. Flora marched down the field and scored with 2:37 left.
Carlton Andrews: Completed 9-of- 17 passes for 131 yards and rushed 11 times for 44 yards.
Lane Botkin: Anchored the Falcons defense, returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown, and had the final rushing touchdown to put the game away.
24: Number of A.C. Flora senior football players honored before the game. It’s the largest senior class Reggie Shaw has ever coached.
13: Number of punts between the two teams.
THEY SAID IT
“Our defense had been questioned after the last couple of games, we challenged them this week and they responded.” – A.C. Flora coach Reggie Shaw
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.” – A.C. Flora senior Botkin
HOW THEY SCORED
ACF: Coleman Pope 15 yard run – Thomas Mccutchen kick (6:14)
ACF: Lane Botkin 65 yard punt return – Mccutchen kick (2:44)
D: Matthew Campbell 6 yard run – Cody Bach kick (0:19)
ACF: Carlton Andrews 47 yard pass to Garrett Whetstone – Mccutchen kick (11:24)
D: Matthew Campbell 63 yard pass to Sabien Cummings – Bach kick (5:36)
ACF: Lane Botkin 2 yard run – Mccutchen kick (2:37)
Rushing: D: Anthony Salters 4-11, Jay Washington 16-67, Quincy Mcleod 3-8, Tony Gunter 1-4, Matthew Campbell 1-6-1 ACF: Coleman Pope 12-57-1, Cory Riley 6-39, Carlton Andrews 11-44, Lane Botkin 6-18- 1, Leighton Love 1-(- 10)
Passing: D: Matthew Campbell 13-28- 172-1 ACF: Carlton Andrews 9-17-131-1
Receiving: D: Sabien Cummings 1-63- 1, Tyran Rush 4-35, Anthony Salters 3-22, Cody Bach 1-2, Jay Washington 1-0 ACF: Thomas Hollingsworth 4-51, Quincy Riley 1-14, Cam Riley 1-12, Garrett Whetstone 2-58, Leighton Love 1-(- 2)