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Florence clears major conference hurdle in 27-0 win over Manitou
FLORENCE • Florence passed what could potentially be its toughest test in the quest for a 2A Tri-Peaks title. The Huskies used a stout defensive effort and a strong running attack to beat Manitou Springs 27-0 at home Friday night and take control of the league.
In a matchup of a pair of top-10 2A teams in the state, Johnnie Krien had a pair of second-half touchdown runs to help Florence (4-1, 3-0 2A Tri-Peaks) pull away after it built a 13-0 first-half lead.
“We started the first half a little shaky but once we started to run up the middle it opened up the outside for me,” said Krien, who had 128 rushing yards. “They came in here 4-0 and they are a great team; the final score doesn’t mean that much because they were a hard-hitting and strong team.”
After converting a fourth-and-2 at the Manitou Springs 25-yard line, Florence quarterback Zach Hoxie ran for a 22-yard touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Huskies a 6-0 lead after a failed 2-point conversion attempt.
Florence would then drive 80 yards just before the end of the first half and take a 13-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Scott Sandoval.
“Our defense was on the field much longer than we wanted it to be at times, so when we could have long scoring drives it helped out,” Florence coach Mark Buderus said. “They had a good plan for us and we have some improvement to make.”
Manitou (4-1, 2-1) had four scoring chances inside or close to the Florence red zone throughout the game, but had miscues on all four that resulted in not cracking the scoreboard.
There were two interceptions and the other two drives came to a grinding halt at the mercy of the referees’ flags. The Mustangs had the ball close to the Florence red zone twice but were flagged five times, pushing the ball back and forcing long fourth-down attempts.
“I think the main thing was execution, and that was something we struggled with last week as well,” Mustangs coach Danny Gieck said. “A lot of those penalties we had were mental errors.”
One of Manitou Springs’ standouts on both sides of the ball Friday night — KC Quarry — echoed his coach’s sentiment.
“It comes down to desire and you’ve got to want to push the ball in when you get down there,” he said. “We had miscommunications a lot and we couldn’t get our play calling in on defense fast enough to execute it; but we’ll come back from this.”