It took a little while for the A.C. Flora to gain control of their first-round playoff game against Lancaster on Friday night.
Once the Falcons turned the tide midway in the second quarter, they never looked back in a 44-21 Class 4A win against the Burins.
“That’s kind of how we roll right now. It’s almost like we’re in a 10- or 12-round bout,” said A.C. Flora coach Collin Drafts. “You throw a couple of jabs, and once we get rolling, we play well. We’re playing good football right now.”
A.C. Flora (9-2) won nine consecutive games and plays Wren in the second round. The third-seeded Hurricanes defeated Greenville 35-14 and will travel to Memorial Stadium to take on the Falcons.
Trailing 7-0, A.C. Flora got on the scoreboard with Quincy Riley’s 40-yard touchdown run at the 4-minute mark of the first quarter.
Kemarkio Cloud answered that score 32 seconds later with a 60-yard TD scamper that put the Bruins (6-5) up 14-7 going into the second quarter.
Two big plays in the second quarter gave A.C. Flora a 21-14 halftime lead.
With 8:36 to go in the half, Jaelan Tarver blocked a Jacob Cato punt attempt deep in Bruin territory. After a scrum, Tarver scooped up the ball at the Lancaster 12 and tied the game with a run into the end zone.
“When we blocked the punt, it was all she wrote after that,” Drafts said. “Our special teams this year have been something special.”
With less than a minute to go, Matthew Jamison connected with R.J. Mobley for a 40-yard pass that set the Falcons up at the Bruins 2-yard line. Joshua Heatley ran the ball in for the go-ahead score with two seconds to go.
The Falcons forced a fumble in Lancaster’s opening possession in the second half. Quincy Riley ran the ball in from 19 yards out to put A.C. Flora up 28-14.
Four minutes later, Heatley ran the ball in for another score to make it 35-14.
The Falcons got a team safety and a Tarver TD run, this time on offense.
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
1. Once A.C. Flora gets going, the Falcons are hard to stop. Down 14-7, A.C. Flora used big plays in the first half, a strong running game in the second half and a strong defense throughout to shut down the Bruins.
2. Penalties didn’t affect A.C. Flora’s offense. The Falcons had 13 flags for 115 yards, but the Falcons kept momentum in their favor with long runs and big plays.
3. The Memorial Stadium rebuild is not yet complete, with the press box in the works. The field, however, is immaculate, bleachers clean and sight lines are clear.
HOW THEY SCORED
L – WyQuan Massey 22 pass from Kemarkio Cloud (Jacob Cato kick) 5:39
F – Quincy Riley 40 run (Neal Weaver kick) 4:00
L – Cloud 60 run (Cato kick) 3:28
F – Jaelan Tarver 12 blocked punt recovery (Weaver kick) 8:36
F – Joshua Heatley 2 run (Weaver kick) :02
F – Riley 19 run (Harper Fordham kick) 8:07
F – Heatley 5 run (Fordham kick) 4:12
F – Team safety 8:39
F – Tarver 15 run (Fordham kick) 7:37
L – Nigel Moore 1 run (Cato kick) 2:24
Rushing: L: Kemarkio Cloud 10-70, Nigel Moore 10-24, WyQuan Massey 1-8, Christian Woodard 1-7. F: Darian Addison 3-19, Matthew Jamison 8-27, Joshua Heatley 11-70, Quincey Riley 4-73, Matthew Pack 12-87
Passing: L: Kemarkio Cloud 6-20-0-101. F: Joshua Heatley 2-2-0-48, Matthew Jamison 5-9-2
Receiving: L: Zach Truesdale 3-49, WyQuan Massey 1-22, Christian Woodard 1-17, J.P. Cunningham 1-13. F: R.J. Mobley 3-88, Matthew Pack 1-2, Cam Scott 3-37