Feels Like the First Time: Florence’s Fourth-Straight Win Against Rival Coolidge is 1st of Season
2 weeks ago Caela Fox 0
The Florence football team recorded its first win of the season last Friday, defeating its rival Coolidge, 27 – 13, as the Bears’ hosted their Honor the Military Game.
The Gophers have now won four-straight games between the teams after Coolidge had won seven of the previous ten. Over the last 14 games in rivalry, each team has seven wins.
The Gophers have dominated the Bears the last three years and last week was no different.
According to Gophers head coach Scott Howard, the Gophers have been improving each week and they are getting closer to being able to put four quarters together.
“I felt like we played four quarters (Friday) and we haven’t done that all year,” Howard said.
The Bears did help the Gophers a little bit with penalties and turnovers throughout the game.
“We shot ourselves in the foot tonight, that’s for sure, (with) penalties, turnovers. (The Gophers) came out swinging with and they came all out like we knew they would,” said Bears head coach Bill Godsil.
There were a lot of penalties, however, even Howard thought some of them were quite questionable. Still, he was very happy to get the win in the end.
The Gophers came right out of the gate with two touchdowns in the first quarter. The first was a four-yard touchdown run by Kaleb White, which was followed by a 35-yard touchdown pass from Christopher Walter to Malik Payton, staking the Gophers to an early 14 – 0 lead.
The Bears did answer back in the second quarter with a three-yard touchdown reception by Greg Reece to make cut the deficit to 14 – 7 at the end of the first half.
“We had some costly penalties going into the drive at the end of the first half,” Godsil said. “We took their momentum away and then we started dropping the ball (and) turning the ball over. Just costly mistakes that we have to clean up. It’s been a problem that we’ve had all year. We just really need to clean it up because it cost us tonight.”
In the third quarter both teams scored a touchdown. The Gophers’ Joshua Maignan had a 31-yard touchdown, but the extra point was blocked, extending the lead to 20 – 7. The Bears answered back with a 10-yard touchdown run by Val Rodriguez, but the extra point was missed and the score at the end of the third quarter was 20 – 13.
Despite the touchdown by Val Rodriguez, the Gophers’ defense did a great job at shutting him down.
“We knew we need to shut down (Rodriguez), which we did and be physical with them, they don’t like to be physical,” Howard said.
The Gophers added another touchdown in the fourth quarter on a six-yard run by Maignan to seal the game and their first win of the season.
Even in defeat, Godsil, was proud of the way his boys fought through the game and played hard.
“Boys fought hard, played hard and gosh dang, Greg Rodriguez ran his (rear end) off and one mistake,” Godsil said. “You feel for the kid, but I’m proud of him. He’s a heck of a young man, a sophomore. He’s going to be coming along in a nice way,” Godsil said.
For the Gophers, it was all about getting a good start to the second half of their season, which could be a whole new season for them.
“I told our kids it’s a new season before this game, we got the non-region, we go the region, we control everything we want. Everything is in our hands, so we can still go out and win the region,” Howard said.
Overall, it was another edge-of-your seat rivalry game and both the Bears and Gophers put on a show for their fans. it makes next year’s game that much more anticipated to see who will break the rivalry series’ tie.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Penalties, Penalties, Penalties: Both the Gophers and the Bears had quite a few penalties. In fact, there were about 12 flags thrown towards the end of the first half of the game. The Bears were unfortunately on the rough end of the flags throughout the game and it most of the penalties caused them first downs or gave first downs to the Gophers.
Turnovers: Then there were the turnovers. One of them was an interception by Carlos Valencia on the Bears off Christopher Walter. There was also a Bears fumble that was recovered by the Gophers and an interception by Frankie Bryan off Val Rodriguez. Along with a few instances of turn over on downs due to failed fourth down conversions.
Poor Defense for Bears: The Bears defense did a solid job against the Gophers with having a total of 49 tackles throughout the game and an interception, however, they still weren’t solid enough to combat the running force in Joshua Maignan or the throwing arm of Chronopher Walter.
THREE STARS – COOLIDGE
No. 3 – Greg Rodriguez. He had 17 carries for 114 yards and 3 tackles.
No. 2 – Greg Reece. He had 1 carry for 1 yard, 8 receptions for 82 yards, a 16 yard kick off return, and one touchdown for a total of 99 yards.
No. 1 – Val Rodriguez. He was 13 completions out of 22 attempts for 153 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. H also had 16 carries for 65 yards, for a total of 218 yards.
THREE STARS – FLORENCE
No. 3 – Kaleb White. H had 2 carries for 1 yard and 1 touchdown; 2 receptions for 65 yards for a total of 66 yards.
No. 2 – Christopher Walter. He had 5 completions on 12 attempts for 139 yards; 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, and 4 rushing yards for a total of 143 yards.
No. 1 – Joshua Maignan. He had 1 completion out of 4 attempts for 28 yards, 31 carries for 140 yards, 2 receptions for 39 yards for a total of 207 yards with a 1 rushing and 1 receiving touchdown.
HE SAID IT
“It feels great. I don’t do it for myself. I do it for teammates and our alumni because I know how important it is to them,” – Maignan about how it felt to beat the Bears.
The Gophers will visit Benjamin Franklin on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m.
The Bears will host American Leadership Academy – Ironwood (1 – 6) on their Homecoming on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m.