Florence fights off a challenge from St. Mary's

September 14, 2012 Updated: July 3, 2013 at 9:31 am
photo - Florence's Johnnie Krien (20) stiff-arms St. Mary's Logan Elliott (3) in the third quarter Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, at Grace Center.    Photo by KEVIN KRECK, SEPCIAL TO THE GAZETTE
Florence's Johnnie Krien (20) stiff-arms St. Mary's Logan Elliott (3) in the third quarter Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, at Grace Center. Photo by KEVIN KRECK, SEPCIAL TO THE GAZETTE 

The St. Mary’s Pirates had Florence on the edge of the plank.

But then a fired up and angry Husky trio of Scott Sandoval, Johnnie Krien and quarterback Zach Hoxie rallied Florence (2-1) to a 34-14 victory over the Pirates (2-1) in a back-and-forth 2A showdown at Grace Center.

Sandoval and Hoxie led a determined, 13-play 68-yard scoring drive into the fourth quarter to take the lead for good after St. Mary’s had tied it at 14 with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter on Logan Elliott’s 61-yard play action pass.

Sandoval put the Huskies back in front for good 21-14 when he rumbled up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown and then converted the following PAT kick with 11:11 remaining. He also blocked a St. Mary’s punt in the final minutes of the game that was returned by Cameron Marques for a touchdown.

“We just kind of found our fire and finally got to work,” Sandoval said. “I read my blocks and we put it into the end zone. I just had to go for it. All or nothing.”    

“He hadn’t played a lot of fullback, but he is figuring it out and getting it,” coach Mark Buderus said. “He’s a pretty talented kid. We’re happy with the things he is doing.”

Yet it was Hoxie’s play on fourth and 2 the play before when the quarterback, making his first start since injuring his ankle in the season opener, stretched out on a keeper along the right side for a first down by inches.

On the Huskies previous possession, Krien clawed, stiff-armed, dragged and fought his way into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown on fourth down.

The junior then sealed the game by bouncing from a crowded line of scrimmage 30 yards down the sideline with 8:37 remaining to give the Huskies a 28-14 lead.

“We started getting fired up,” Krien said. “A lot of yelling and intensity on the sideline. That’s what you have to have to win a football game.”

St. Mary’s coach Nic Olney took responsibility for a fourth quarter that saw the Pirates have three straight series without a first down.

“I have to do a better job preparing my team for battle,” he said. “Football is an emotional game and the key is keeping your emotions in check and I have to do a better job getting my team prepared to win.”

Colten Wolf made a nice play late in the first half when he read Hoxie’s eyes on a pass towards the left sideline and made a leading interception while falling backward with 1:25 remaining.

Elliott then orchestrated an eight-play scoring drive, capped off with a tying 10-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Gaines before the half.

Yet Florence found a way to rebound after last week’s 41-6 loss to Kent Denver.

“We got the snot knocked out of us last week and we were able to come back and put some stuff together,” Buderus said.

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