EL PASO- Two explosive offenses will meet up on the Far East side of El Paso on Thursday night as the Franklin Cougars travel across the city to take on the undefeated Montwood Rams in a pivotal District 1-6A showdown. Last year’s matchup was a high-scoring affair, with the Rams holding off a late charge by Franklin for a 56-48 win.
“We jumped on them early and they battled all the way back the last time we played them,” Montwood head coach Ariel Famaligi said, “We’re gearing up for a tough contest again and we know that Franklin is not going to give up. We’re excited for the challenge.”
Famaligi knows how talented the Cougars are on the offensive side of the ball, particularly on the ground. Senior running back Seth Dominguez leads the way on the ground for the Cougars and he’s coming off a career-best 320 yard rushing performance last week against El Paso Eastwood.
“Fortunately for us, we’ve had the chance to go up against some good runners,” Famaligi said, “Seth provides a different kind of challenge. He’s a downhill, strong and physical runner and he’s got a good offensive line in front of him.”
The Rams defense will also have to adjust a potential new starting quarterback. Senior Matt Heifner made his first career start for incumbent Chris Kelley and managed the game well, throwing four touchdown passes and not turning the ball over.
“We don’t have a ton of film on (Heifner) but one thing that stands out is his chemistry,” Famaligi said of the senior quarterback, “You can see in the way they operate their offense and that’s a dangerous thing. We’re catching them at a time where they’re starting to get hot and we’re expecting a good game from them on Thursday night.”
On the other side, the Rams will continue to lean on one of the most dynamic quarterback-receiver combinations in Andrew Fernandez and Tyreese Andrus. Coming off a 61-41 shootout win over rival El Dorado, Famaligi is pleased to see continued production from his offense, especially now that he has the other weapons such as receivers Tury Cepeda and Edward Garibay back at full strength.
As the Rams continue to try to stay on top in District 1-6A, Famaligi knows the importance of remaining consistent.
“We’re trying to treat this game as business-like as possible,” he said, “We make it a point not to let our kids get overconfident and keep them levelheaded. If we can keep them that way, then I feel that we can do what we need to do to win.”
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