Tough Enough

Big Blue best of the best
BY BILL MARTIN
Reporter Sports Editor


David Franklin and Brandon Lopez celebrate a touchdown connection in the second quarter against Jarrell. 
Steve Young photo David Franklin and Brandon Lopez celebrate a touchdown connection in the second quarter against Jarrell. Steve Young photo JARRELL—When the University Interscholastic League cobbled together District 10-3A back in February, pundits were quick to christen the new league the toughest in the state.

Most had Cameron and Franklin battling it out for the crown, with Rockdale, anxiously waiting in the wings.

Ten months later, the smoke has cleared now and it’s Cameron and Franklin looking up at the Tigers.

The Tigers collected their first outright district title since 1999 by jacking up a hapless Jarrell squad 45-7 Friday night at Cougar Field.

Big Blue closes out the regular season at 9-1 and will face Groesbeck in the first round of the playoffs Friday at Waco ISD Stadium (see below).

The Tigers emerged unscathed in district play at 6-0.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller, who led the Tigers to a co-championship with Cameron in 2014. “We talked in February about how tough a district this was. To be able to run the table, obviously we got some breaks, the kids played extremely hard, we’ve been fairly healthy, the coaches did a great job,” Rockdale coach Jeff Miller said. “To be able to withstand this gauntlet, it was one of our goals. Our biggest goal was to play an 11th ballgame. Obviously winning that district championship means a whole bunch to a lot of people.

“It’s really important to the community and the school and these kids and of course the coaching staff.”

Although the victory was anti-climatic after handling Franklin last week, the Tigers took care of business.

While the passing game has been dormant the past two weeks, David Franklin shocked it back to life by scorching the Cougars (1-9, 0-6) for a career-tying five touchdown passes to five different receivers.

The senior was perfect, connecting on all nine passes he attempted for 172 yards—and all in the first half.

Franklin hooked up with five different receivers, including seniors Brandon Lopez and Alex Guzman, who both hauled in their first touchdowns of the season. It was Guzman’s first catch of the year.

Lopez played the entire second half at quarterback.

Davion Ford picked up 70 yards on seven carries with a 19-yard score and also opened up the scoring with a 48-yard hookup with Franklin on a screen pass.

Ford had two catches for 99 yards as his 51-yard over-the-shoulder grab set up Franklin’s 12-yarder to Brandon Lopez for a 19-0 lead in the second quarter.

Miller took pity on Jarrell and rested his starters in the second half.

Already leading 13-0 after one, Big Blue erupted for 32 points in the second quarter to construct a 45-0 halftime lead.

Big Blue amassed 274 of its season-low 318 yards in the first half, while Jarrell rang up 126 of its 168 total in the second half against Tiger reserves.

“It was about as clean a game as we could play, offensively and defensively,” Miller said. “The offense, we score six touchdowns and five touchdown passes to five different players. We played four ridiculously tough games (leading up to this game) and this could have been a letdown game and we came out and played really fast and it was fun.”


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