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Gadsden City beats Florence to open season


Gadsden City’s LaGerald Malone dodges a tackle from Florence’s Keaton Anderson during Friday’s season-opening game for both teams in Florence. (Photo by Allison Carter | TimesDaily)


FLORENCE — Austin Piazza kicked a 19-yard field goal with 5 seconds left, Gadsden City rolled up 453 yards of offense, and the Titans defeated Florence 30-28 in their high school football season opener Friday.

Piazza’s kick came after the Titans drove 79 yards to the 1-yard line. A miraculous catch by Jordan Veasy two plays before set up the kick. Veasy took a C.J. Moore pass away from a defender and sprinted 55 yards to get Gadsden City inside the 10. After a pair of short runs to the middle of the field, Veasy calmly set it through the uprights to give the Titans the win and a 1-0 start to the 2012 season.

Gadsden City led 27-14 at halftime, but Florence (0-1) scored 14 unanswered points to take the lead. Kendrick Doss found Justin Green for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 1:57 remaining, and Tyler Elam’s PAT put the Falcons ahead 28-27 before the Titans’ game-winning drive.

Gadsden City overcame four first-half turnovers to build an advantage on Florence. The first touchdown of the year came through the air, as Moore found Mississippi State commit B.J. Hammond for a 37-yard touchdown pass at the 4:45 mark of the first quarter.

It was the only score of the first quarter, but the teams combined to put up 34 points in the last 5:43 of the first half.

Trevor Sandridge put the Titans ahead 13-0 with a 1-yard plunge before Doss scored on a 15-yard run to put the Falcons on the board. LaGerald Malone then scored on a 9-yard run before Doss connected with Will Barnett on a 37-yard scoring strike to bring the Falcons within 20-14 with 55 seconds remaining in the half.

But Gadsden City responded quickly, as Malone took the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to the house and gave the Titans a 13-point advantage at the break.

Florence’s Roland Adams scored in the third quarter on a 6-yard run for the Falcons’ other score.

Gadsden City did the brunt of its damage on the ground, as the team rushed 39 times for 329 yards. Sandridge led the way with 167 yards on 29 carries, while Malone rushed six times for 96 yards. Through the air, Moore went 6 for 13 for 124 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Hammond had three catches for 59 yards.

For Florence, Doss rushed for 173 yards on 29 carries, while Adams added 13 rushes for 73 yards. Doss went 9 of 25 through the air for 133 yards. As a team, Florence gained 375 yards.