By Matthew Martin/Sports Correspondent
The Matt Scott era did not open quite the way Gadsden City would have liked.
Florence defeated the Titans, 28-7, in high school football action on Aug. 30 in the season opener for both teams.
“We pulled out all the stops and did everything in our power to win this game,” Scott said. “At the same time, you can’t approach this game with your kids in a way like it’s a do-or-die game. At the end of the day, it’s not.
“Our goal right now is, we go to Auburn Game 5. I want to be 3-0 in the region when we get there. That’s what we’re worried about.”
Gadsden City opened the game strong on offense, scoring on its first drive of the season.
Starting quarterback Jay Copeland hit Terrell Malone on a 34-yard screen pass to get the Titans moving into Florence territory.
Two plays later, Rodney Bozeman rumbled 40 yards for Gadsden City’s first touchdown of the season.
But after building that early advantage, Gadsden City did not have an answer for Florence quarterback Kendrick Doss, an Ole Miss commitment.
Doss accounted for two touchdowns and more than 200 yards of offense.
After holding the Falcons in check for most of the first half, the Titans allowed three scores in about five minutes during a span of the late second quarter and early third quarter.
Doss began the scoring barrage with a 10-yard keeper for a touchdown with 4:32 remaining in the first half, to tie the game at 7-7.
Moments later, following a Titan fumble, Doss went to work again, this time through the air. Doss hit William Barnett on a 57-yard pass and the receiver did the rest, waltzing untouched into the end zone for a 14-7 halftime lead.
Florence tacked on another score on the second-half kickoff when Roland Adams raced for a 78-yard score to put the Falcons ahead, 21-7.
Florence concluded the scoring on a 3-yard Adams score with: 42 left in the game.
Gadsden City had chances to get back into the game in the second half, but penalties and turnovers cost the Titans.
In one such instance, Deveunte Blount raced on a 38-yard run down to the Falcon 5-yard line. But a holding penalty brought back the long run and the Titans eventually turned over the ball on downs.
Had Gadsden City been able to score on the drive, it would have cut the lead to 21-14.
“If we don’t get that penalty, and there’s all the ‘ifs,’ you can come up with all kinds of those,” Scott said. “But I feel like we’re going to score there and it’s going to get real interesting then.”
For Gadsden City, Copeland finished the night 4-of-11 passing for 58 yards and an interception. Backup quarterback Ahmad DeRamus completed 4-of-10 passes for 50 yards.
Dante Rudolph rushed for a team-high 51 yards on eight carries, while Gabriel Ford had 50 yards rushing on seven attempts for the Titans.
“I’m really proud of how our kids played,” Scott said. “And the kids will tell you, I’m not going to say that if that’s not the case. Our kids played hard and I’m really proud of the effort we had. And they didn’t get down. If we continue to improve, I feel good about what our possibilities are for the year.”
Gadsden City begins Class 6A, Region 7 play on Friday at home against Lee-Huntsville.