Florence wasn’t sharp Friday night, but consecutive plays by Andy Martinez jump started the Gophers en route to their 22-0 season opening shutout over host Goodyear Estrella Foothills in a 3A nonregion game.
Martinez intercepted Wolves’ quarterback Jake Speckhard midway through the first quarter. On the next offensive play, the junior wideout made a diving 34-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Cash Clemans.
“I think everybody will double team (Martinez) this year,” Florence coach Shawn Cluff said. “But we’ll find other ways to get the ball to him.”
Martinez led all Gopher receivers with three catches for 44 yards and a TD.
A strong rushing attack also aided Florence as Larry Anderson accumulated 153 yards on 16 carries. He added an 8-yard scoring run off tackle late in the fourth quarter for good measure. Anderson spelled starter Nate Lindsay after he pulled his groin early in the first quarter.
The Florence defense created a turnover in the third quarter as Speckhard was stripped and Nate Lindsay pounced on the fumble. Clemans (8-of-16 for 115 yards in his first varsity start) quickly turned the turnover into points, hitting Fabian Strong on a wide receiver screen that he took down the sideline for a 25-yard score.
“I am expecting this to be a good defense,” Cluff said. “We are fast and physical. We played horrible on offense tonight. If we don’t get it tightened up, it will be a long season.”
The Gophers committed nine penalties for 95 yards and turned the ball over twice inside the Wolves' 20-yard line.