MANHATTAN — It took an extra period, but Florence still made history Saturday.
The Falcons became the first team to win three consecutive Class B state football championships, rallying past Manhattan for a thrilling 21-14 overtime win.
Florence, which entered the game as the No. 1 seed from the West, took a 7-0 first-quarter lead when Drew Wagner returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown. Manhattan, the South's No. 1 seed, controlled the second quarter, though. Michael Stewart connected with Callin Fenno for two touchdowns — one from 6 yards and the other from 28 — to give the Tigers a 14-7 halftime lead.
Florence tied the game in the third quarter when Mason Arlington plowed into the end zone for a 1-yard scoring run, and the defenses took over from there. Neither team could generate much offense, with drives stalling on fourth downs or turnovers. Florence intercepted a Manhattan desperation heave in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime tied 14-14.
In the extra period, Florence got the ball first, and immediately put the pressure on the Tigers. Ethan Alexander scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Falcons a 21-14 advantage.
Manhattan fumbled on its overtime possession, as Florence secured an undefeated season and third straight state title.