Outlook: Florence coach Shawn Cluff learned a hard lesson last year.
After his team rolled to a 3-0 record with wins over three mediocre teams, Cluff’s Gophers had a reality check against 3A South teams Safford and Coolidge. This year, Cluff put perennial power Blue Ridge on the schedule to get his team prepared for what the South offers.
“I wanted somebody who can tell us where we are at,” Cluff said. “We wanted to find out if we could play the kind of physical game we’re going to have to play.”
So far, the Gophers have displayed a balanced offense, with junior quarterback Cash Clemans completing more than 60 percent of his passes and Larry Anderson running for 285 yards in two games.
On defense, the Gophers will have to stop Blue Ridge’s Frank Parkinson, who ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns against Coolidge last week.
Address: 1200 W. White Mountain Blvd., Lakeside
Records: Florence 2-0, Blue Ridge 1-1
Last meeting: 1983 2A state championship game - Blue Ridge 7, Florence 0