Dec 9, 2011 7:48 PM by Andy Koen
The town of Florence is celebrating today after their high school football team claimed the 2A State Championship. The team, the band and the cheerleaders all took a victory lap Friday afternoon down Main Street to celebrate their achievement.
The Huskies beat Bayfield in a blizzard last Saturday by a score 34-0 to claim their fifth state title in school history. Head Coach Mark Buderus says he encourages all of his teams to finish the season strong.
"We always tell our kids if you can get through that mid-season grind and get to the end, and get a spot in the playoffs and get a good seed and then you gotta play your best football down the stretch and our kids did that."
Standing along Main Street to applaud the team, Judy Stewart and other members of a self-described cheering section say they never miss a game, even if the team is out of town.
"We go to all the games," she said. "We love our boys, these are our boys."
In fact, another member of that club, Nick Ayala, holds the unofficial record of most games attended. "I've been going to the football games since I left school in 1955," Ayala said.
The Huskies 13-1 record ended a season that began with a bit of nostalgia. Structural issues at the new Husky Stadium forced the school to move all home games back to their legacy field, Palmer Field.
"I think of Palmer Field as home," said Urban Baca who played for the team in the 1950's. "I like this football field better than the (new field), it's a nice football field out there but this one here, it hits a spot to all of us."
There is a certain magic to Palmer Field. In their previous season here in 2005 the Huskies also won a state championship. Perhaps the field wasn't ready to let the team go.
"Oh yeah there some magic," Coach Buderus said with a chuckle. "There's some ghosts down there that take care of you some nights."
The Huskies will continue playing at Palmer for the foreseeable future. Fremont School District RE-2 is suing their builder over the structural issues at the stadium and high school. Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti says it could be years before the legal issues are resolved and the money is available to fix the stadium.
In the meantime Buderus and 40 of his players will be spending New Years Day in Denver cheering on the Broncos in their season finale against the Chiefs. Back in September, Buderus was named a Denver Broncos Coach of the Week and as a reward the school received $1,000 for its football program and Buderus was given a pair of tickets to the game. The Broncos sent the additional tickets after the team won the championship.