Going into their first 1-6A district game this season, Pebble Hills wanted to avenge last season’s 53-28 loss to the Franklin Cougars, and they wanted to answer any questions regarding how they would do against a district opponent.
Opening with a three-possession-lead answered any questions, as the No. 2 Spartans dominated the Cougars 57-28 at Socorro ISD’s Student Activities Center (SAC) Friday night.
From the opening possession, the Spartans were able to start the game off on the right note, converting a 4th down with a 13-yard pass from Orlando Puig to Haredt Gonzalez; quickly putting them in the red zone.
Soon after, quarterback Christopher Beanes put the first points on the board with a 3-yard QB sneak. The defense then followed up by halting the Cougars offense, forcing a punt on 4th & 20.
The Spartans continued to move the ball down the field, as Orlando Puig connected with Kevin Averette on a 32-yard pass. Gonzalez then suffered an injury – a “hip pointer” – and was taken out of the game, but morale and discipline remained strong as Puig and running back Cameron Seabrook hooked up for a 6-yard touchdown, making it 14-0.
The Spartans used this momentum on their next defensive drive, as Deiontae Moore intercepted a tipped ball and gave the offense yet another chance to capitalize, which they did.
On the very next play, Averette scored via a 35-yard touchdown pass, bringing the Spartans to a comfortable 21-point lead. The Cougars however were able to score a 15-yard touchdown pass, making it 21-7 at the half.
For Pebble Hills, Puig ended the first half with 2 touchdowns and 206 yards.
The start of the second half rolled in favor of the visiting team, when Franklin’s quarterback Chris Kelley scored via a 3-yard run to trim the lead, 21-13.
It was apparent that adjustments were made at the half, but the Cougars could not stop the Spartans as the onslaught from the 1st half, continued in the second half of the game.
Puig was able to connect with Kevin Averette on a diagonal pass resulting in an 83-yard touchdown, much to the delight of the loud Spartan faithful, making the score 28-13. This created a new wave of confidence that flooded into the defense, allowing them to make yet another interception on a pivotal possession for Franklin.
Caleb Gerber then continued the offensive onslaught by punching in a 3-yard run making it 35-13.
The Spartans were on a hot streak on both sides of the ball. Juan Santiago and Jonas Christmas both recovered fumbles and converted the turnovers to points by running them all the back to the end zone.
Defensively, the Spartans have been solid all year, but offensively, certain possessions showcased an offense hitting stride. For the first time this season, the Cougars allowed more than 50 points.
“We had defensive scores, and those are hustle plays, those are not shove it in your face run up the score type of plays,” head coach Mark Torres said. “We were not looking to run up the score on Franklin, we were simply looking for a win.We were disciplined, we made explosive plays, we prevented explosive plays against us, we checked off all the boxes this week, and this is what happens when you check all the boxes off.”
Coach added that starting off district with a win at home is imperative, when it comes to clinching a playoff berth.
“It feels great to get a district win, and those are not easy to come by,” Torres said. “I’m excited about the way it happened, our kids had a lot of fun tonight.”
The Spartans (4-0, 1-0 in district) go on the road to take on Coronado Oct. 6 at 7:00 p.m. Coronado is fresh off a 36-15 win against Americas, and has won consecutive games entering the contest.
Words: Matthew Thomas / Photo: Hannah Aguilar | To view a gallery of the game, click here.