HARVEST — Florence did its part in its quest for the Class 6A, Region 8 championship.
Quarterback Kendrick Doss made sure of that in a 54-26 blowout of Sparkman on a brisk Friday night.
With a commanding 41-2 halftime lead, the focus turned to scoreboard watching among many on the Falcons’ sideline. But just down the road in Madison, where Florence needed Austin to defeat Bob Jones to claim the region title, the news turned sour late.
The Patriots roared back to edge the Black Bears in the final seconds, keeping Florence from winning its first region championship since 2007.
But, Falcons coaches and players agreed, all was certainly not lost after they clinched a second seed for the playoffs.
“We are very pleased,’’ Doss said after accounting for six touchdowns and 338 yards in offense, all in the first half. “We’ve got a home game in the first round of the playoffs, and that was one of our goals at the start of the season.’’
Florence (6-3 overall, 6-1 region) finishes the regular season against Vestavia Hills, then takes on the No. 3 seed from Region 7 in the first round. Sparkman fell to 1-8, 1-6.
“We had our chance to win the region in Week 3,’’ Florence first-year coach Jamey DuBose said. “But we came up short 48-42 against Bob Jones. We sure would like a chance to play them again. But we’re 6-1 in the region with this team in our first year with everybody new. I’m pleased.’’
Doss was nearly flawless in the opening half. He completed 15-of-17 for 248 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, and rushed three times for 90 yards and two scores.
His lone visible mistake was taking a 12-yard sack for a safety.
“We had an excellent week,’’ Doss said. “We came in focused on offense.’’
Florence scored on six of seven first-half possessions.
Doss threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Dillard on the game’s third play.
The Falcons followed with a 49-yard touchdown run by Doss and a 36-yard scoring pass from Doss to J.J. Green as they took a 21-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Doss tossed a 23-yard TD strike to William Barnett and Doss scored on a 35-yard keeper for a 34-0 lead.
Following the safety, Florence added an 11-yard pass from Doss to Barnett and took a 41-2 lead into intermission.
“My line, my running back, the coaches — we were all on the same page,’’ Doss said.
Florence went ahead 48-2 in the third quarter behind a 14-yard run from Tadrick Williams.
The Falcons lost 3 of 6 fumbles, all in the fourth quarter, and Sparkman knifed into its deficit.
The Senators got fourth-quarter touchdown run of 46 yards by Lorenzo James and 16 and 1 yards from Myles Johnson. Sparkman also converted three 2-point plays.
The scoring ended when Florence’s Quade Alexander returned an interception for a score with 1:35 left.
“We had two big wins the last two weeks,’’ Alexander said. “We need another to take momentum into the playoffs.’’