It’s safe to say this this week is the biggest week in Florence football history.
The Buffs are in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, and there is a buzz going around town, in which people are talking about the football team.
“The kids are all fired up and excited,” Florence head coach Zane Bode said. “You can tell that everyone is excited and we are looking forward to the opportunity to represent the school and town.”
Not only is Florence (5-5) in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, but the team is looking to do something greater.
“It’s not documented anywhere I can see, but it looks like we would be the first team at Florence High School to ever win a playoff game,” Bode said.
The Buffs will meet Tidehaven (7-2) tonight at 7:30 in Giddings, and Bode expects when the ball is in the air, that everyone will be ready.
“This year has been different than in years past here, because the kids have all came together and are all committed to each other,” Bode said.
Bode admits that they would not be where that are if not for several key players who have all stepped up this season, including Cutter Callan, Zack Pluhar, Matthew Edgar, center Caleb Allen, quarterback CJ Giddens and 5-foot-8 back Edel Hernandez.
The Buffaloes earned the second seed out of District 9-3A, Division II.
On defense, the Buffs are led by Alex Gamboa, Alex Palacios, Landon Byrne, Justin Trussell, Edgar and safety Giddens who have all made big plays on the year.
Seniors Peyton Wood, Martin Quenga, Luis Olalde, Damian Gamboa, Andres Ramirez, Tyler Heine, Hunter McBride, Lane Mills, Callan, Pluhar, Hernandez and Allen all have received high praise from their coach.
“This senior class is probably the best I have ever coached because of their work ethic,” Bode said.
Bode knows that his team will have to be ready to play come tonigh, if the team wants to earn that first playoff win.
“Tidehaven is a run-oriented team,” Bode said. “They are physical and have a lot of speed, they like to chew the clock by getting three yards per carry and that is perfectly fine with them.”
The second-year head coach changed the culture of football in Florence and the Buffaloes want to be preparing for another opponent next week.
“If we want to win this game,” Bode said, “we will have to stop the run and make catches on offense when we throw the ball.”
Whatever happens Friday night, the 2016 Florence Buffaloes have left their mark on a program that is on the rise.