The Socorro Bulldogs hosted the Franklin Cougars on a chilly Friday night in the Lower Valley.
Tension, adrenaline and energy coursed through the air, as the fans filed into the stands. With so much anticipation, there was no doubt that this would be tough contest for the Bulldogs, who were still looking for their first win of the season.
Socorro fumbled on their first drive, but stopped the Cougars on 4th and goal, after Franklin opted to go for it early in the first quarter.
The Bulldog defense played tough and was able to hold Franklin on their first offensive snaps, but Franklin made some quick adjustments to make it 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, with an impressive ground game.
Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs found themselves inside the Cougar 5-yard line, after a spectacular 40-yard run by QB Damian Williams. Running back Nicholas Reyes pierced the middle of the Franklin D-line and scored on the following play, but the point-after attempt was blocked.
By halftime, Franklin led the home-standing Bulldogs 34 to 6
Late in the fourth quarter, Socorro scored again, as senior Anthony Martinez was able to break the goal line for the Bulldogs.
Although the Bulldogs were able to recover two pooch kicks on special teams, the small sparks were not enough to lift them past the unrelenting Franklin team, as the Cougars won 48-20.
“Tonight’s game is certainly a blessing,” senior wide receiver Edward Granados said. “Although I myself, along with some teammates, were injured, we still put our all into the game, and at the end of the night that’s all that matters.”
Story and Photo by: Briseida Rivera (SHS Journalism Staff)
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.
In a battle of District 1-6A teams, the Americas Trailblazers edged out the Franklin Cougars 38 to 35, thanks to second half domination by the ‘Blazers.
Both teams began the game exchanging touchdowns, as Franklin quarterback Brandon Mueller and Americas running back Joshua Fields played ‘dueling touchdowns’ runs in the first quarter.
“Definitely we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and when you control the line of scrimmage, you control the game,” Americas head coach, Patrick Melton said. “We had 259 rushing yards in the first half, that’s almost unheard of. The offensive line took over and the defensive line took over when it was time to.”
The game was tied at 14 after one quarter of play, then the game slowed down as only three points were scored in the second quarter with Americas hitting a 23-yard field goal before the half.
Fields rushed 27 times for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first half, countered by Mueller of Franklin who kept the ball eight times for 116 yards and two touchdowns of his own; but it was Americas’ offensive line who would continue its dominance in the second half.
“It feels good, my o-line opened up big holes for me, I just kept on pushing to get the win,” Fields said. “We just wanted to pound the ball, impose our will on them, make them quit.”
“It feels good knocking out Franklin,” Fields added. “We have to worry about Coronado next, one week at a time”
It was in the second half that the Trailblazers jumped to a 31 to 14 lead after quarterback Eric Foster added two rushing touchdowns of his own. The offensive line also helped Foster to a big day, adding 212 rushing yards, on top of his two scores.
“In the third quarter we came out and established ourselves on defense and on offense,” Melton said. “Franklin coach [Daren] Walker does a great job and you knew they weren’t just going to lay down. They got a couple of onside [kicks] on us, we have to tighten that up, but we got two weeks to get ready for our next opponent.”
Americas would maintain a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter after linebacker Kolton Lindeman returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown with a little over 3 minutes left to play.
However Franklin would not be put away that easily, scoring 14 points in the waning minutes of the game giving them a puncher’s chance at a comeback, had they recovered a third onside kick with five seconds left to play.
“We knew tonight was a big game, this game kind of set up the rest of the playoff picture and the run for district,” Melton said. “I would have been a mess had we lost.”
Americas improves to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in District 1-6A play while dropping Franklin to 3-4, but giving them their first district loss of the season, now 2-1.
Franklin will face Coronado Oct. 22, Americas has a bye before they too take on the Thunderbirds on Oct. 30.
The Socorro Bulldogs traveled to the city’s Westside to take on the always-tough Franklin Cougars. Andres Acosta was there too, check out his fine camera work from the Cougar’s 56 to 7 victory in tonight’s Story in Six Pics (Plus a couple extra shots, too)