by Gary Noland
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
October 29, 1998
Two kick-off returns by Florence running back Adam Lunceford thwarted a come-back effort by the Blackhawks in the second half last Friday night when Florence dashed Blackhawk hopes for a state play-off spot with a 24-14 win on their home field.
Florence controlled the first half, but only marginally, managing touchdowns late in the first period and a second one late in the second period to forge a 12-0 halftime lead.
Florence had won the coin toss prior to the game and passed on receiving the game opening kickoff, instead electing to receive at the start of the second half.
That decision proved fatal to the Hawks when Lunceford took the second half kick-off and ran straight up the middle for 90 yards, putting the Hawks down 18-0.
Scoreless for six straight quarters (four at Frenchtown), the Hawks immediately rallied and ground out a series of first downs, with senior back B. J. Parker bulling his way into the end zone on three consecutive carries inside the ten-yard line. The Hawks converted for two points and trailed 18-8.
On the next possession, Bobby Clarke found daylight throught the middle and outran the defense for around a 50-yard touchdown. The Hawks failed on the extra point conversion, but now trailed by only four points, 18-14, in what appeared to be a comeback that might work.
Florence's Lunceford, however, had other thoughts, and he took the ensuing kick-off back 80 yards to put the Hawks down 24-14.
Despite a dazzling shotgun offense in which quarterback Bryan Barthelmess hit Bobby Clark and other receivers on short down-and-out passes and J. C. Clark for a long gainer, the Hawks stalled out on fourth down 20 yards shy of scoring with little time left in the game.
The loss ended the season and put the Blackhawks third in the District 5-B league, with Frenchtown, first, and Florence, second, advancing to the state playoffs.