Florence clinches division title and now heads to state football playoffs

Florence claims their first Freedom Division title since 2012 in a 28-13 win at New Egypt on Oct. 26. Photo by Thomas Wiedmann
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Florence claims their first Freedom Division title since 2012 in a 28-13 win at New Egypt on Oct. 26. Photo by Thomas Wiedmann

Now that Florence High School has been crowned a division champion, next up for the Flashes will be a state football sectional playoff title.

Florence clinched the West Jersey Football League’s Freedom Division championship when it knocked off New Egypt High School, 28-13, on Oct. 26 in New Egypt.

Florence will now focus on winning the Central Jersey, Group 1 state playoff title. The Flashes will take their first step when they play at home against Middlesex High School on Nov. 2. Game time is 7 p.m. Florence is the fourth seed and Middlesex is seeded fifth in the section.

The winner will meet the survivor of the Willingboro High School-Keyport High School opening round playoff game in the semifinals next weekend.

In the victory over New Egypt, the Flashes were able to pull away from a 7-6 lead at the half behind the running and scoring of back Davien Vernon.

First, Vernon ran six yards to the end zone and Daniel Jantos kicked the conversion when Florence broke ahead to a 14-6 lead early in the third period.

But the play of the game came later in the quarter when QB Noah Jackson handed off to Vernon deep in Florence territory. Vernon then broke left and raced 81 yards before he was stopped at the New Egypt 14.

That burst set up his 13-yard TD run that was followed by a conversion kick by Jantos. That score handed Florence a 21-6 lead.

New Egypt scored to cut into its deficit in the third period but Vernon bolted seven yards to the end zone in the final period to ice the victory for the Flashes.

Vernon ended the game with 210 yards on the ground.

Jajuan Hays scored the other Florence TD when he crossed the goal line with a 14-yard run in the first quarter.

Vernon’s effort came one week after he rushed for 117 yards and scored a touchdown to help steer Florence to a 28-18 victory over Burlington City High School on Oct. 19.

“The best part of my game was probably the rushing,” said Vernon.” “When I came into the game, I didn’t even think I was going to rush for that many yards.”

Vernon said he felt a sense that the final league game matchup at New Egypt would prove to a critical one.

“We’ve been talking about this since the beginning of the year,” said Vernon. “We knew it was going to come down to this game, and it was going to be a dogfight. We pulled out with the win, and we’re just going to keep moving from here. All we’ve got to do is come out as a team and just keep winning.”

Another weapon for Florence heading into the state playoffs is the foot of the kicker, Jantos.

In his first year ever playing football, the former club soccer player said that he adjusted his kicking technique for football, while he is excited to be a part of the Florence football program.

“The best part is the team giving me the chance to go out there, being a freshman, and just kick,” said Jantos, who has scored 31 points kicking this year. “I’m really excited to take it to the next level. Before this, I always did the kicks for soccer, so now I just transferred my leg into a football-type kick.”

Florence coach Joe Frappolli was pleased with his team’s victory over a well-prepared New Egypt squad.

winning its first division title since 2012.

“Our schedule has been so tough all year long against some of the big guys, so now we get ready for the state playoffs,” Frappolli said. “[New Egypt] did a good job. They had a good scheme. They put some of their best players where we are at our best point of attack.”

The coach was also thrilled with the his program’s first division title since 2012.

“We haven’t been [division champions] for a while – we sort of forgot the feeling,” Frappolli said. “That was our goal for the season, coming in – and to make it into the states.”