By Nick Talbot and James Harper
Killeen Daily Herald
Not 24 hours after junior varsity player Carlos Salas was killed in a car accident that also saw three Florence students injured, the Buffaloes played their tightest and most emotional game of the season.
A huge underdog coming in – thanks to a 55-35 trouncing to the Thorndale last season - Florence gave the Bulldogs all they had Friday. It just was not enough as they fell 21-20 at Thorndale's Bulldog Stadium.
"It was (tough)," said Florence coach Paul Smith. "The kids are emotionally spent. It has been a hard two days here, but we still had a chance to win.
"It was just a couple of plays that cost us."
Florence fell down 14-0 after Riley Schaefer returned a Kaleb Hardy interception 32 yards for the score and quarterback Tyler Miller scored on a 1-yard run. Florence, though, rattled off the next 20 points.
In the second quarter, Hardy, who led the Buffaloes with 95 yards on 22 carries, scored on 1- and 3-yard runs.
Florence ended the first half up 17-14 after a 37-yard Alex Juarez field goal. Juarez added a 27-yarder in the fourth quarter to put the Buffaloes up 20-14.
However, Steven McKendrick scored on an 18-yard run late in the quarter, to give the Bulldogs the victory.
"The main thing is that this is a very young team and I am proud of them," Smith said. "The defense only gave up 14 points tonight and we were a play away (from winning).
"Florence is a lot better football team than it has been in a long time."
Belton 38, 4A No.8 Waco Midway 21 - At Hewitt, the Belton Tigers used a high-scoring first quarter to put the game away early against eighth-ranked Midway (2-1) and remain undefeated. Peter Shelburne threw two touchdown passes to Darius Ewing; Donavan Williams ran for one of his two touchdowns en route to a 22-0 first quarter lead that the Tigers would not relinquish.
All told, Shelburne collected 258 yards on 14 of 22 attempts while tossing three touchdowns. Williams carried the ball 33 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns for 3-0 Belton.
Ewing and Derick Bates caught three passes for 75 yards and five passes for 109 yards, respectively.
Lampasas 17, Lorena 14 - At Lampasas, the Badgers used a multi-player rushing attack and a fourth-quarter field goal by Josh Barbero to stay undefeated.
Barbero's field goal, a 22-yarder with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, proved the difference in a back-and-forth affair that began with Justin Maldonado's touchdown with 5:04 left in the first.
Fisher Simpson scored twice for Lorena (1-2) in the second quarter, but Lampasas quarterback Brandon Scott tied the game at halftime on a 67-yard run.
Scott led Lampasas (3-0) with eight carries for 82 yards and one touchdown. Maldonado had 71 yards on 21 carries and Secody Howard finished with 79 yards on 20 carries. Lampasas faces Leander Rouse next week.