The Parkland Matadors will head from the Northeast to the Lower Valley on Friday night to face off against the Socorro Bulldogs at Bulldog Stadium in El Paso.
Parkland enters this game coming off a 55–14 blowout win over the Jefferson Silver Foxes and the key for success remains the same for the Matadors: Give the ball to Deion Hankins. The junior running back picked up right where he left off last season, rushing for 236 yards and three touchdowns in less than three quarters of work last week.
While Hankins will be a focal point, senior quarterback A.J. Briggs will have a big part of how far the Matadors go in 2017. Head coach Eric Frontz had talked about how much he had improved during the offseason and he started his own season on the right foot, throwing for a career-high 359 yards and three touchdowns. His top target from 2016, Patrick Sullivan, is now at UTPB but may have found a new go-to target in Zarcariaous Preha, who caught five passes for 176 yards and all three touchdown passes.
As for Socorro, the Bulldogs are still looking for their first win under head coach Marcus Graham. They got off to a tough start last Thursday in Canutillo after being shut out by the Eagles in a 26-0 defeat. Making things more difficult is the fact that senior receiver Matthew Chavez is reportedly out an extended period due to an injury.
On offense, the Bulldogs will try to establish the run and have two main options to lean on: senior Gabriel Magana and junior Nicholas Reyes. Both will be key to help out junior quarterback Jacob Luna, who won’t be asked to throw a ton but will try to manage the offense and stay mistake-free.
The Bulldogs will try to matchup with the Matadors ground attack thanks to two big defensive tackles in juniors Misael Ortiz and Blue De La Cruz. The two defensive lineman combined for 15 tackles last Thursday and will have to step up in this game to help Socorro snap an 18-game losing streak.
This game will also serve as the final non-district tuneup for Parkland while the Bulldogs will have one more game to get tuned up when they travel to take on El Paso Bowie. Kickoff is at 7 pm Mountain Time.
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