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Falcons Defeat Chargers in 9AA tilt

Florence-Henry 34, Hamlin 24

FLORENCE — A fast start helped Florence-Henry’s football team make some history Friday night with a 34-24 victory over fourth-rated Class 9AA Hamlin.

The win is the first-ever football victory over Hamlin in the history of the two schools.

Hamlin, however, just dropped down to nine-man football in 2009.

The Chargers were 10-0 with six shutouts over the Falcons before Friday. The two teams did not meet in 2013 and 2014, although both have been members of the Eastern Coteau Conference since Hamlin dropped down in 2009.

“For as early as we are on our schedule, this game was it and we came out and played very well,” said Florence-Henry head coach Travis Schmidt. “It was a great team effort.”

The Falcons (now 2-0 in 2021) did have a very successful 2020 season that included a 44-26 loss to eventual state runner-up Hamlin. Although early, Friday’s win could prove to be a sign of good things to come this season for Florence-Henry since Hamlin has compiled a salty 94-27 record in 12-plus seasons of nine-man football.

“We’ve never had this feeling before after playing Hamlin, so it kind of feels great,” said Schmidt.

The Falcons didn’t wait around, taking a 6-0 lead on Ashton Hanson’s 20-yard run with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter. They took control with three more scores in the second quarter, two on touchdown passes from Tegan Sumner to Mehki Keller (38 yards) and Ethan Paulson (39 yards). Frank Hanson added a 1-yard YD plunge that pushed the lead to 28-0 with just over 40 seconds left in the first half.

Hamlin scored on the final play of the half — a 6-yard run by quarterback Xander Sheehan — and added an early safety in the third quarter before Frank Hanson’s 35-yard run made it 34-8 after three periods.

Tyson Stevenson teamed with Dawson Noem on a 34-yard scoring pass and added a 12-yard TD run in the fourth quarter for the Chargers (1-1).

Florence-Henry gained 177 yards rushing and 122 passing. Ashton Hanson rushed for 89 yards and Frank Hanson 62. Sumner completed four of eight passes, teaming with Paulson twice for 72 and Keller twice for 50.

Chase Kelly recorded 14 tackles and a quarterback sack to lead the Falcons’ defense. Clay Trupe had 13 tackles.

Hamlin gained 150 yards rushing and 114 passing. Luke Fraser ran for 78 yards. Sheehan was 8-for-24 passing for 82 yards.

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