Coolidge Florence football

Florence senior running back Joshua Maignan finds a hole in the line and runs for a touchdown on the opening drive Friday against Coolidge.

FLORENCE — The Gophers expect to work hard for homecoming glory Friday as they host undefeated Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin.

“They’re excited for homecoming. We’re playing a bunch of young kids, so they’re going to step up,” Florence coach Scott Howard said. The Gophers (1-5) are dealing with some injuries, and will especially miss senior running back Joshua Maignan, who is likely to sit out the game with a mild knee sprain.

The Chargers, meanwhile, are healthy, “and we’re trying to keep them that way,” coach Dave Jefferies said. “Last year we had a real tough time with injuries, so we’re trying to learn from that a little bit and keep everybody as healthy as possible.”

Jefferies said his squad this year benefits from a good group of a dozen seniors who’ve completely bought in to the program. A few of them missed the season, or a major part of the season, last year due to injuries, and they’re glad to be back.

“They’re just hungry to be playing football, they’re good leaders and good examples to the younger kids,” he said.

Benjamin Franklin’s brand of football is “a different style than you’ll see most places,” Howard said. “It’s a double-wing offense, so it’s hard to prepare for. They’re really solid, really good at what they do. That’s probably why they’re No. 1 in the state right now.”

Florence is working to be ready for that attack. “We’re trying to keep getting better and go out and compete. That’s what we’re looking for,” Howard said.

Benjamin Franklin is also excited for tomorrow’s game. “We had a bye last week, so I think we’re ready to play some football,” Jefferies said.

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