FLORENCE — In 2019, the Florence Falcons were trending upwards.
They went 6-2 in the regular season and picked up a first-round win in the Class B football playoffs.
However, the Falcons and three-year starting quarterback Colby Kohlman's playoff run was abruptly ended in the second round by Fairfield. Kohlman was a tough kid to replace, but the Falcons have their man in sophomore Pat Duchien Jr.
"He will put his mark on No. 15 and he’s going to be our starter this year," said Florence head coach Pat Duchien Sr. "We look forward to good things there with the crew around him. It’ll help, being a young developmental quarterback."
"I feel like he’s going to be a good player. Of course, he’s not the same running quarterback that Colby Kohlman was," said Florence tight end Luke Maki. "But those are definitely filling some big shoes."
While they lost a key piece, a ton of juniors returned with three years of starting experience.
"Defensively, I think we’re great. We’re just going to keep polishing our 4-3," said Pat Duchien Sr. "We’ve got a lot more depth in our line than we’ve had in years past, really excited there. Our skill positions are really deep in the defensive backfield and linebackers. On offense, we just returned a slug of guys that have huge experience."
While many teams may have been limited outside of Montana during the pandemic, the Falcons have had the luxury of preparing for a season.
"We had a great summer, you know, 10 weeks of strength and conditioning, eight weeks where we could practice this summer and the kids were really thriving to get back out to something," said Pat Duchien Sr.
The Falcons traditionally play their first game of the season against Jefferson under the lights at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, but that game has been canceled. Currently, the Falcons' season opener is scheduled for Sept. 4 against Manhattan.
"It’s definitely going to be a little off and weird when we start up," said wide receiver Cadence Waller. "I feel like once we get into it it’ll be just fine and we'll come on strong."