BRENHAM — Florence was knocked out of the Class 3A, Division II playoffs after traveling to face the El Maton Tidehaven Tigers in the bi-district round Thursday evening and lost 34-7.
The teams may have met on neutral ground, but by the look of the crowd you would have thought it was a Tidehaven home game.
The undefeated Tigers started at Florence’s 42-yard line and sophomore quarterback Blake Garcia quickly connected with senior running back Jeffery Williams to put Tidehaven at the 20-yard line.
By the end of the first quarter, Tidehaven (10-0) led 7-0 and was on the cusp of scoring a second time before the clock ran out.
Sixty seconds is all it took for Garcia to find Williams again to extend the Tigers’ lead to 14-0 at the start of the second quarter.
No matter how hard Florence (4-7) fought to get toward the end zone, Tidehaven had an answer.
By the middle of the quarter, Garcia found Williams again. He almost dropped the ball before recovering and making it into the end zone for a third time.
Garcia found junior wide receiver Jonathan Montague for another touchdown, leaving 30 seconds on the clock.
Tidehaven led 28-0 at halftime.
Florence came out swinging at the beginning of the third quarter as senior quarterback C.J. Giddens ran the ball for a 12-yard touchdown putting the Buffaloes on the scoreboard, trailing 28-7.
Defense also found an answer to keeping Williams at bay, holding him to 5 rushing yards in the Tigers’ first possession of the quarter.
Junior receiver Kelby Vaughn kept the momentum going for the Buffaloes as he gained 24 yards on a punt return at the end of the third quarter.
Tidehaven found its stride again early in the fourth quarter as Garcia connected with senior wide receiver R.J. Morrison for a 53-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 34-7.
The Buffaloes have a fairly young team made up of mostly juniors and sophomores, who have the opportunity to continue the legacy of their program and return next year.
“It’s been 60 years since Florence has been back-to-back in the playoffs,” head coach Zane Bode said. “And these gentlemen right here took another step.
“I’m very proud of our young men. They overcame a lot of adversity this year.”