FLORENCE — Top-ranked Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin scored in every quarter but the last one, when it was finally Florence’s turn to put together a successful drive.
On fourth down, homecoming king Regen Terry caught a 19-yard pass. After a couple of carries for a few yards each by Ruben Torres, Terry caught an 11-yard pass to the 3-yard line, and Torres carried it the rest of the way for the touchdown.
Although the Chargers (7-0, 2-0 3A Central) won 41-6 Friday, both coaches had praise for Florence’s offense.
“Florence did a great job on offense,” Benjamin Franklin coach Dave Jefferies commented afterward. “They might have had more first downs than us; they were in the red zone several times, but it didn’t go their way. They turned the ball over a few times. Offensively, we did what we thought we’d do. We’ve got a lot of fine-tuning to do on defense.”
Gophers coach Scott Howard agreed, saying “I was happy with our offense. We’ve just got to learn how to finish.”
Florence had some banged up players sitting out the game, including running back Joshua Maignan. But Howard was pleased to see other players step up, including 6-foot-4-inch defensive end Terry showing some offense skills.
“That was good to see, we worked on some stuff,” Howard said. “(We’re) a young football team going through some growing pains. Defensively, we did some good things, but … we’ve got to do the little things.”
Unofficial stats showed Gophers quarterback Christopher Walter completed 7 of 15 passes for 130 yards, and ran for 29 yards more. Davante Neal rushed for 70 yards and Torres rushed for 57. Cade Stenson had 57 yards receiving.
The loss dropped Florence to 1-6, and 0-2 in region.
On the Chargers’ third play of the game, Ammon Warby caught a 40-yard touchdown pass for the visitor’s first score.
The Chargers blocked Florence’s field goal attempt in the second quarter, and two plays later, Warby rushed 82 yards for the visitor’s third touchdown.
In the third quarter, the Chargers’ Matthew McKnight intercepted the Gophers and ran 50 yards for a touchdown.
Zach Jefferies scored the Chargers’ other three touchdowns.
Florence will next host district rival San Tan Foothills on Friday, while Ben Franklin prepares for the much-anticipated showdown with American Leadership Academy-Queen Creek, which will pit the top two teams in the 3A conference against each other.