LA JARA — A top-ten meeting went Centauri’s way when the Falcons upset Florence in a 28-20 battle.
The Falcons have been suffering the wrath of the coaches’ poll since having lost to 2A opponent Pagosa Springs on Sept. 13. A win against Buena Vista Sept. 27 served to heal some wounds, but the Falcons needed to drop No. 4 Florence Friday night to show 1A football what the Red and Black faithful already knew.
The Huskies brought their one-man offensive machine Owen Busetti with them. The Florence junior showed his value early taking a long run to the Centauri 14-yard line. Three plays later the turnover bug bit and Centauri’s Adam Chacon forced Busetti to put the ball on the ground and Centauri recovered.
A 12 play 82-yard drive was capped by Centauri sophomore Mason Claunch getting in on the ground, the point after gave the Falcons a 7-0 lead. A punt, missed field goal try and an offside penalty had Florence with the ball at their own 25. There, a team who has been vexed by turnovers all season turned the ball over for the second time in the quarter.
With another possession, Centauri senior Eric Maez weaved his way in for the Falcons second score of the night, the PAT making it a 14-0 game. With a minute remaining in the half Florence’s Josh Martinez would squeeze in at the sideline to cut the lead to 14-7. Some late half heroics resulted in Centauri’s Maez finding Baron Holman in the corner of the end zone for a 25-yard strike to keep it a two-score game 21-7 at the half.
Coming back from the break Centauri was tested by a difficult third quarter. The Falcons’ first possession of the second half resulted in watching Florence’s Jian Aguilar take an interception back for a score to close the distance to 21-14. Then a miscommunication on the kickoff resulted in Florence getting the ball on the kick-off for a free possession, which Busetti punched in to bring the Huskies closer, 21-20. Centauri senior Taj Cornum would block the extra point to ensure 1-points worth of breathing room.
Two punts and two turnover-on-downs passed the remainder of the third quarter.
On a possession that spanned quarters, Centauri experienced a partially blocked punt that was picked up and advanced for a first down. An unsportsmanlike conduct foul and a personal foul charged to Florence further advanced the Falcon drive. Centauri’s rushers Cornum and Claunch took over, methodically moving the ball downfield. A fourth-down attempt from the 3-yard line resulted in Claunch driving in the clincher, the PAT made the Falcon lead 28-21.
After the Husky possession, a Centauri fumble put Florence in position to drive for the game-tying score. Florence’s Martinez would not receive the time of day.
After picking up a sack, Centauri’s Daniel Chavez would log a hurry that resulting in Baron Holman getting an interception, the Falcon’s fourth takeaway of the game. Centauri scored 14 points off turnovers in the victory.
Head Coach Kyle Forster was thankful for the upset win, “That was a big one for us, beating No. 4 was really big and that was what we needed to do tonight.” The Falcons take on No. 39 out of 40 teams in Ignacio next week but Coach Forster won’t be caught looking too far into the future, “We just got to take care of next week before we look forward to anything else.” Falcons, Bobcats Nov. 1, 1 p.m.