Florence storms past Missoula Loyola to make it consecutive Class B titles

Florence 2022 Class B Football Champions
Posted at 3:45 PM, Nov 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 09:34:43-05

FLORENCE — There would be no Cinderella ending for underdog Missoula Loyola.

Defending Class B champion Florence was back in championship form as quarterback Patrick Duchien racked up six total touchdowns and the Falcons surged to a second-straight crown with a 48-7 victory in Saturday's title game.

The blowout win thwarted what had been a magical postseason run for the fourth-seeded Rams who had toppled No. 1 seeds Towsend and Bigfork and beaten second-seeded Shepherd en route to the championship.

Duchien threw five touchdown passes — three of them to Brodie Hinsdale — and added a 2-yard rushing score in the third quarter to make it 35-7 and put the game on ice.

"It means the world. This is my first year in high school playing football, actually," said Hinsdale. "They welcomed me with open arms and to see us be successful is awesome."

Duchien opened the scoring with his first touchdown pass to Hinsdale, this one from 28 yards out.

The Rams responded early in the second quarter as Talen Reynolds scored on a 2-yard run. It would be their first and only score of the game.

Shortly after, Duchien and Hinsalde connected again from four yards out to put Florence up 14-7. Just before the half, Duchien hit William Wagner for a 14-yard strike to give the Falcons a 21-7 lead at halftime.

It was all Florence after the break with Duchien increasing his team's lead to 28-7 after throwing a 34-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Abbott.

Less than a minute later, Duchien capitalized on an interception by the Florence defense and scored his 2-yard quarterback keeper to seal the win.

"This was my last game ever in a Florence Falcons uniform. It was something special," said Patrick with a smile. "It's something special to win one and to do it as a senior, but to do it two times in a row, that's just incredible to me."

Near the end of the game, Florence's head coach Pat Duchien took two timeouts to give his seniors a chance to walk off the field as Falcons for a final time. He had been coaching many of them for nearly a decade.

"There's 17 of them on this team. I think I counted 10 of them, maybe 11 that I actually coached in the third grade. They battled it through and stuck with it. Just solid kids," said Pat Duchien

After the victory, Pat Duchien felt a wave of emotions as he walked onto the field to celebrate with his team, most notably his son.

"Didn't think I'd be this emotional," said Duchien holding back tears. "Him kind of leading the weight room. Having a major goal of going on and playing college football and his dedication and leadership, I can finally start talking about him in that way. We don't do that, we're a fairly humble family. I'm just so proud of him."

The championship was Florence's third overall, with the Falcons' first title coming in 1977 when they were still a Class C program.