by Scott Sacry
Florence-Carlton senior QB Patrick Duchien was masterful in Florence’s 47-13 dismantling of Whitehall in the Falcons’ first round Class B state tournament win on October 29th. Duchien passed for 315 yards, ran for 77 yards, and scored 6 total TDs (3 rushing and 3 passing) in front of a lively home crowd. Florence’s execution was crisp and efficient as they methodically moved the ball up and down the field on offense and thwarted Whitehall’s chances on defense.
“As always, our defense did its thing and got the stops we needed,” said Florence’s head coach Pat Duchien, “but I’ll have to say, it was the most gelled our offense has been this year. We made the right reads, we made the right throws, we made the right adjustments – everyone was on the same page.”
Florence WR Tyler Abbot had 9 catches for 136 yards and 2 TDs, Ethan Alexander caught 5 passes for 48 yards and scored a TD, and DE Colten Rice had 9 tackles, 3 sacks, and took an interception 25 yards into the endzone for a TD.
Florence’s reward for the win is a 385 mile trip east to face Huntley Project on Saturday, November 5th. The quarterfinal matchup features two of the best teams in Class B. In the latest 406mtsports.com’s poll, Huntley Project was ranked No. 2 and Florence was ranked No. 3. Huntley Project is 10-0 on the season and is fresh off a 52-14 win over Cut Bank in the opening round. Huntley Project has been dominant all season and has yet to be truly tested – a 21-0 opening week win against No. 4 Malta was their closest game all year.
“To be the best you have to play the best and face a bit of adversity,” said Duchien. “Huntley is very good at what they do and there won’t be many surprises. You know what they’re going to do, you just have to stop it. They run a typical Wing T Offense with a lot of misdirection. They mostly run the ball and will throw it maybe 3-7 times in a game. But when they do throw it they are very effective, and if you’re not ready they will burn you.”
In last year’s postseason, the Falcons had the luxury of all home games; this week they are the road team. “Playing on the road just throws you out of your routine,” said Duchien. “You’re sleeping in a different bed, you’re eating different foods. Everything is just a little off. But that’s all part of the adversity that you have to overcome. We have to keep our minds right this week and improve on our mistakes and do all the little things right. Then we’ll see how it all shakes out.”
Florence and Huntley Project will play in Worden on Saturday, November 5th at 1 p.m. The winner will play either Boulder or Malta in the state semifinals the following week.