By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
FLORENCE - Florence fixed it.
Whatever was going on, whether it was just fighting through first-game fatigue, inexperience on defense or the loss of perhaps its most explosive player in the second quarter, Florence found out a way to fix its mid-game problems.
And just in time.
After jumping out to a 28-0 lead thanks to three scores from Michael Ramirez, the Buffaloes held off Bruceville-Eddy's rally Friday and defeated the Eagles 41-25 at Stampede Stadium.
The first 15 minutes of the night, though, were owned by Ramirez.
Ramirez scored two first-quarter touchdowns, the first on a 14-yard run and the second on a 3-yard run.
At the start of the second quarter, he broke free for a 50-yard score and Florence (1-0) looked like it was on its way to a blowout.
Especially since Emilio Ramirez also got in on the action catching a 41-yard pass from Doak Hensley that put the Buffaloes up 14-0.
The first two scores by the Buffaloes came after fumbled kick returns – one punt and one kick - by the Eagles. A third came after a blocked punt by Dakota Dobbs.
"They turned the ball over and we took advantage of it with our great special teams play," said Florence coach Paul Smith.
Despite the four quick scores by the tandem of Ramirez and Ramirez, the night was hard on the Buffaloes.
Michael Ramirez, who ran 12 times for 100 yards, left in the second quarter with an injury and did not return to the game. And he might not return next week, either.
To make matters worse, Bruceville-Eddy (0-1) started to gain momentum.
In the third quarter, the Buffaloes gave up a 79-yard run to Greg Farber. And then they reeled off a 10-play scoring drive that was capped off by a 1-yard dive by Jake King.
"Fatigue took over," Smith said. "Then we missed a couple of assignments. We just have to go watch the film and get better every week."
Farber ran for 18 times for 135 yards and his second touchdown brought the Eagles to within nine, 28-19.
But, then Emilio Ramirez, who had eight catches for 132 yards, caught his second touchdown pass of the game when Hensley found him on a 29-yard pump-and-go down the middle of the field on the opening play of the fourth quarter top put the Buffaloes back up by 15.
"The corner was just a little bit inside and I saw it and I told Doak and coach (Smith) saw it too, so we went to it on the next play and we scored," Ramirez said.
Again, though, Bruceville-Eddy didn't just go away.
They scored again after a 35-yard run by Scott Shanz set them up inside the 10 and Tanner Smith hit Jordan Hawkins for a 4-yard score.
But there was too little time.
And Florence still had one more touchdown in its arsenal, as Hensley, who was 19-of-37 passing for 172 yards and two TDs, took to the ground and not only kept the Eagles offense off the field, but scored on a 9-yard run.
"We hit a little bit of a slump, but we came out of it," said Ethan Powell, who played every snap of the game, whether it was on the offensive or defensive line. "We just came back play after play and got it done."