Velva’s Florence captures Senior Athlete of the Year
Following a stellar 2020 campaign which saw the Aggies earn a regional championship, Velva two way player Gage Florence was recognized as the Region 3 Senior Athlete of the Year.
While compiling an overall record of 10-1 on the year, including an appearance in the Class A state semifinals, Florence was among eight Aggies to be named to the all-region team. Additionally, it was Velva head football coach Larry Sandy who earned Region 3Coach of the Year honors.
For Florence, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing plateau in 2020 while accumulating over 1,800 all-purpose yards to go with 27 touchdowns. Despite his own individual achievements, Florence was quick to credit his supporting cast which allowed for a breakout season.
“I really want to acknowledge the guys up front who do all the dirty work,” Florence told the Minot Daily News via telephone. “They open up the holes for me to make plays on the outside, and I had a great quarterback to work with too. Jersey (Selzler) had a terrific year and was a great leader for us. Everybody played a part in getting this award for me.”
Playing wide receiver and running back on offense, while also handling linebacker and safety duties on defense, Florence says winning senior athlete of the year was not on his radar heading into the fall. Rather, he maintains his focus was simply on winning games forthe Aggies.
“Coming into my senior year, I really wanted to get us into the Dakota Bowl to play for a state championship, but we just came up a game short,” Florence adds. “The individual recognition was something that just came as a result of all the hard work we put in as a team.”
Having played football since the third grade, Florence will have an opportunity to continue his gridiron career in college. According to the Velva senior, who also plays varsity basketball and baseball for the Aggies, he has received scholarship offers from a number of schools including Minot State, Dickinson State and Bemidji State among others. Academically, Florence expresses interest in pursuing an education in either business and marketing or health sciences.
Although he remains undecided on his future plans, Florence says he looks forward to carrying on the family tradition of football as his father, John, also played college football.
Meanwhile, Florence’s older brother Bryce once played offensive and defensive line at Velva before graduating in 2015. As a collegiate athlete, the award winning football player states his goal will be to try and lead his team to a national championship.
“I’m just going to choose the school that will be the best fit for me, and try to better myself as an athlete,” the high school standout continues. “As far as team goals are concerned, I definitely want to win a championship forthat school wherever it is.”