FLORENCE — How do you prepare for a football game with only 19 players ready to suit up?
“Carefully,” said Florence head coach Paul Smith.
Decimated by injuries all year, the Florence Buffaloes lost to the visiting McGregor Bulldogs 34-6 in a contest that went beyond the score.
“The kids gave great effort all game,” said Smith, “They played hard and refused to quit. That’s all I can ask of them.”
McGregor (8-1, 5-1 13-2A, Div. I) fired quickly in the contest, scoring 28 unanswered points in the first half, including two touchdowns within 2 minutes of each other.
Behind the rushing attack of C.J. Sims and the passing of Troy Allison, it seemed nothing could slow down the Bulldog offense. The rare times when McGregor was stopped saw the drives kept alive by costly penalties against Florence (1-8, 0-6), including a hotly contested pass interference call in the end zone on third down.
When Florence was able to establish a drive, costly fumbles quickly changed the momentum, and combined with a botched kickoff, led to short fields for McGregor.
In the second half, Florence continued to fight through every play, earning a few personal fouls along the way. The fire and competitive spirit of the team was present even though they were so severely undermanned.
Finally, with 2:49 left, Florence scored its lone touchdown on a 4-yard run by Fernando Ortiz, letting the team take some solace in their play on Senior Night.
“That touchdown meant a lot to this team,” said Smith. “They needed that. They need to be able to take something good out of these games, and that touchdown was it.
“At this point, we are what we are, and we can just go out there and do our best, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Florence heads to eighth-ranked Cameron Yoe for its regular season finale next week while McGregor hosts Salado.