FLORENCE — It was homecoming for Florence on Friday night, and the Buffaloes were hoping to celebrate with a victory as they hosted Salado.
But the Eagles had other plans. They racked up 436 yards of offense, 267 of which came on the ground, and spoiled the evening for the Herd with a 38-8 victory.
The two teams couldn’t get anything on the board in the first quarter, but Salado (2-2) was able to strike for two touchdowns in the second to take a 13-0 lead at halftime.
The Eagles scored their first touchdown on a 15-yard run by Trey Sheppard. Sheppard’s gallop capped off a seven-play, 35-yard drive to put the visitors up 7-0 with 9:49 remaining till the break after place-kicker Jake Walrath made the extra point.
After forcing Florence into a turnover on downs on the subsequent possession, Salado scored quickly on a 67-yard pass from Hayden Haire to Cutter Hudgens to give the Eagles a 13-point lead with 6:12 remaining in the first half after the extra point failed.
The Eagles took the momentum built in the first half and continued to roll in the second. They scored two touchdowns within the first 30 seconds, were successful on a two-point conversion run and an extra point by Walrath to go up 28-0.
On the first play of the third quarter, Haire connected with Aaron Torczynski on a 59-yard touchdown pass. Florence then muffed the kickoff, and Haire threw a 27-yard strike for a touchdown to Jake Harvey.
Later in the third period, Cade Dupoy took a handoff and punched the ball across the goal line from six yards out to put Salado up 35-0 at the 7:09 mark.
The Buffs (2-2) got on the board with 4:28 left in the third on a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Edel Hernandez. Quarterback C.J. Giddens ran in a two-point conversion, and the score was 35-8, Eagles.
Hernandez finished the contest with 73 yards on 19 carries to go along with his scoring run.
Salado’s final score occurred on a 24-yard field goal by Walrath.
Despite the victory, Eagles head coach Alan Haire found it difficult to celebrate.
“It was a dichotomy of kind of wishing I never agreed to play coach (Zane) Bode, because we have such a tight relationship,” Haire said afterward. “Preparing for the game, it was no fun. There’s no winner in that situation.
“Those kids battled for him and did exactly what he expected them to do. He’s doing a great job with them. I wish him the best of luck and, of course, I’m happy for our kids to get the win.”
Bode agreed with Haire’s sentiment.
“It was a fun time, but it’s the same thing here,” Bode said. “You want him to win the state championship and to win every game but this one here. That’s a tough thing, but my hat is off to him. He’s got it turned around and got them rolling.”
Sheppard finished the night with 158 yards on 24 carries for the Eagles, and Haire completed 4 of 6 passes for 169 yards to accompany his three touchdown passes.