Austin uses strong first half to beat Florence, 26-14

After a tough start to the season, the Austin Black Bears seem to have found their mojo.

Austin (2-2) beat Florence, 26-14, Thursday night at Braly Stadium for a 2-0 start in Class 7A, Region 4 play.

The two region wins come after opening the season with non-region losses to Hartselle and Decatur.

The Black Bears dominated in the first half and led 20-7 at halftime.

In that first half, Austin scored three touchdowns on a two-yard run by Kenny Joshua, a 13-yard run by De’Air Young and a 12-yard pass from Young to Cam Collins.

The Austin offense had 267 yards of total offense, 156 yards rushing and 16 first downs. Florence had 31 yards of total offense and two first downs. The Falcons’ only scoring drive in the first half covered just six yards following an Austin fumble.

Another Austin turnover led to Florence’s only touchdown in the second half. The Falcons intercepted a pass and returned it to their own 35. The Falcons drove 65 yards in 11 plays to cut the Austin lead to 20-14 with 9:15 left in the game.

Austin picked up a first down before having to punt the ball back to Florence with 3:15 to play. A fourth down play at the Austin 38 fell short, giving the Black Bears the ball with 1:32 to go in the game.

Nine seconds later, the Black Bears locked up the win with Joshua’s 47-yard run for the sophomore’s second touchdown of the game. A try for two points failed, leaving the score at 26-14.

Austin finished the night with 367 yards of offense, 245 yards rushing, 122 passing on 9 of 13 completions and 21 first downs.

The Black Bears now lead the all-time series with Florence at 9-8.

Austin jumps back into region play a week from Friday with a trip to Albertville. Austin won at Albertville last year, 42-0. The Black Bears lead the series with the Aggies 5-1.