EL PASO- In last year’s matchup, the Franklin Cougars throttled the Pebble Hills Spartans in their first District 1-6A game. In 2017, the Spartans returned the favor.
Pebble Hills started fast, stayed steady and hit the gas in the second half for a 57-28 win over the Franklin Cougars in the District 1-6A opener for both teams.
“It was an exciting first quarter and exciting third quarter,” Pebble Hills head coach Mark Torres said following the game, “Our offense was explosive but really we just did all the little things right. I’m very happy with our staff and our players.”
The Spartans took advantage thanks in part to the right arm of senior quarterback Orlando Puig. The signal caller worked quickly down the field, using two long pass plays from Puig to Cameron Seabrook and Haredt Gonzalez on fourth down to set up a four-yard run by CJ Beanes to make it 7-0.
After a three-and-out, Pebble Hills was more methodical on the following drive, grinding out an 11-play, 83-yard drive capped off by a 7-yard pass from Puig to Seabrook to make it 14-0.
The defense continued that strong effort forcing an interception off the arm of quarterback Chris Kelley cornerback Deiontae Moore. The offense wasted little time as Puig found Kevin Averette in the corner of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown to make it 21-0 late in the first quarter.
The Cougars then turned the corner, as Abraham Annabi intercepted a Puig pass as the Spartans were driving to add another score. Instead, Franklin turned it around as Kelley found Gabe Stonewall in the back corner of the end zone for an 18-yard score to make it 21-7, which would remain the score in the half.
After each team went three and out on their first possessions of the second half, the Cougars struck with a 3-yard run by Chris Kelley to make it 21-13. The Spartans wasted little time as Puig found a streaking Kevin Averette on a slant route and the receiver took it for an 83-yard touchdown to make it 28-13.
A Pebble Hills interception by Ke’Shaun Cartwright was quickly turned to another touchdown run for Beanes to make it 35-13 and essentially put the game away. Puig finished 14 of 21 for 286 yards and three touchdowns and one interception.
“I feel like we made a statement tonight,” Puig said, “Our coaches always emphasized to us to remember the score from last year. We listened to that and we did our job tonight.”
The Spartans defense would add their own exclamation point to this game, adding a 23-yard fumble return by Johnny Santiago in the third quarter and a 32 yard fumble by Jonas Christmas early in the fourth quarter.
Running back Caleb Gerber would add another touchdown in between to give the Spartans their final total. The Spartans had a run of 36 unanswered points before Franklin scored two rushing touchdowns late. Pebble Hills finished with 480 yards of total offense and are now 4-0 on the season. Franklin falls to 1-3 overall.
As the Spartans move forward, Torres is excited about the direction of his team.
“I love it when our guys are able to do things together,” Torres said, “It’s huge for us that every time we score, every one is there in the end zone. Right now, this is a solid group but we’re becoming a family.”
Brought to you by: