MARLIN — Florence somehow managed a touchdown.
But it didn’t do much else against Marlin. The Buffaloes were simply shut down by the Bulldogs, falling 28-7 at Legion Stadium on Friday.
“They were physically better than us up front,” said Florence coach Paul Smith. “They whipped our offensive line’s butt play after play. We couldn’t block them, so they whipped us.”
The Buffaloes did not pick up a second first down until the 5:58 mark in the third quarter, when Kaleb Hardy found Matthew Mellette for a 6-yard pass. In the first half, they ran only 16 offensive plays, compared to 41 for Marlin.
“That is how we have been trying to get them to play for the first three weeks,” said Marlin coach Tim Hensley. “It is Week 4 and we finally put some things together and it did not look half bad.
“(The defensive line) took it upon themselves that they were going to get off the ball and beat them to the quarterback and go get him.”
The Bulldogs ran for 369 yards, keeping the Florence offense off the field for the majority of the game. Marlin (1-3) was led by DeMarcus Womack and Romello Brooks, who ran for 195 and 146 yards respectively.
“DeMarcus is an outstanding football player,” Hensley said. “He is a heck of a defensive player for us, but we saw some things where we could get the ball in his hands (on offense) a little bit and sure enough, two plays later he had two touchdowns.”
Florence (2-2), did manage to get in the end zone, though. On its second play of the game, Hardy hit Jimmy Struble for a short screen pass that Struble turned up the middle of the field for a 64-yard touchdown.
That was the last positive play the Florence offense saw. The Buffaloes only finished with 124 yards of total offense including a dismal 3 yards rushing, due to sacks and fumbled snaps.
The Buffaloes’ defense kept them in the game — at least for a while. After a fumbled kickoff set up Marlin at the Buffaloes 38, Florence held the Bulldogs to a 33-yard field goal attempt, which went wide left.
With less than five minutes left in the second quarter, Marlin drove to the Buffaloes 3-yard line. Brooks looked like he ran up the gut for the score, but the officials ruled him down at the half-yard line. Florence then stuffed Brooks on the fourth-and-goal attempt and took over on downs.
“The defense played pretty solid for being on the field all night long,” Smith said. “It is hard to play defense when you are never on the sideline.”
The Buffaloes kept the ball only one play, getting stuffed in the end zone for a safety.
Then Womack struck again, juking Buffaloes defenders for a 68-yard touchdown run that put Marlin up 15-7. The speedster also scored on a 79-yard run with 1:18 left in the first quarter.
“We just gave up big plays,” Smith said. “That was it.”
Denerian Willis tacked on 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and the Marlin defense did the rest.