Benjamin Franklin Hands Coolidge First Loss on Homecoming

2 months ago Caela Fox 0

Homecoming was a big night for the Benjamin Franklin Chargers football team, which beat the previously undefeated Coolidge Bears, on Friday, Sept. 14, 21 – 13.

“It’s great to get a region win because that helps, (considering) the region winners (get) the automatic bids,” Chargers’ head coach Dave Jefferies said afterwards. “Any time we can go 1 – 0 in the region, we are on our way to doing that,” Jefferies said.

The Bears were able to take the first lead of the game in the first quarter with a 20-yard touchdown from Val Rodriguez to Rashawn Fields for a 7 – 0 lead.

After that, the Chargers had the rest of the game in hand with three unanswered touchdowns, one each in the first three quarters to open a 21 – 7 lead going into the fourth quarter.

That’s when the Bears started to make a little comeback and made the hearts of the Chargers race a little bit. Another touchdown from Rodriguez to Fields closed the gap, however the extra point was no good, making it a 21 – 13 game with 1:24 left.

Benjamin Franklin’s Chandler Miles carried the load, and two Coolidge defenders, on Friday, Sept. 14. (Corey Cross).

The Bears recovered the onside kick, but they couldn’t take advantage of the late opportunity.

“(Our guys) are going to be upset,” Coolidge head coach Bill Godsil said after his team suffered its first loss of the season. “We thought that we had a chance to win this game. I think the final score proved we had a chance to win this game, we just hurt ourselves.”

Perhaps, but Benjamin Franklin running back Chandler Miles hurt the Bears more than anything or anyone else. The senior ran for 229 yards and a pair of touchdowns in addition to throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Jordan Kemp.

“Chandler Miles is a heck of an athlete,” said Godsil. “He’s a hard kid to contain, and their offensive linemen did a good job sealing us off.”

“It’s one of those things where we didn’t take advantage of the things we had, and we made some costly errors at the wrong times.”

Coolidge’s Val Rodriquez (13) tries to get the edge on the Chargers defense during action on Friday, Sept. 14. (Corey Cross)

Miles has been very impressive over the last two weeks, including a 100-yard-plus pick-six a week ago while also taking control on offense, playing the quarterback position for the first time in his football career.

“When I watched him return the interception for 103 yards, I already knew that he had the capability do that, but the vision hit me that, offensively, we obviously need to get him going because we have lost so many other weapons on offense,” Jefferies said.

With half the season left, both teams are taking it one game at a time. The injury-plagued Chargers are approaching each week with the mindset of earning an 11th game.

It won’t be easy, as this game serves as proof how close the race will be in the 3A Central Region and what we can look forward to for the rest of the season.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Penalties for Bears: The Bears were able to move the ball well throughout the game, but they were plagued by eight penalties that caused them a total of 55 yards.

Positive Offense Continues for Chargers: The Chargers were able to continue their momentum from last week’s game, having Miles run the offense and he didn’t disappoint. However, Miles wasn’t the only one who has been stepping up to the challenge. Senior Jordan Kemp, who was also crowned Homecoming King, sophomore Chancin Loving, junior Cade Mcafee, and others have stepped up their games.

“Chandler’s got the experience, he’s a fourth-year varsity player, and so I just asked so much out of him – to take snaps, to run the ball, to throw the ball,” Jefferies said. “He’s never been a quarterback, never really (taken any reps) until a couple of weeks ago, so he’s doing an amazing job. I’m really proud of him and all the kids for stepping up. Chandler is just the showcase guy.”

Another possible injury for Chargers: Already missing five players with injuries, including Zach Jefferies, Danner Bowen, and others, it appeared that there was another injury suffered by senior two-way lineman McCalister Loving. According to Jefferies, it appears to be something with Loving’s shoulder or collar bone, but he wasn’t exactly sure how serious it was.

THREE STARS

 Ben Franklin

No. 3 – Chancin Loving. 15 carries for 34 yards, 1 reception for 32 yards, for a total of 66 yards.

The Chargers’ Jordan Kemp (81) recoups after scoring a touchdown before halftime on Friday, Sept. 14. (Corey Cross).

No. 2 – Jordan Kemp. 1 reception for 25 yards with 1 touchdown; 8 tackles and 1 forced fumble.

No. 1 – Chandler Miles. Passing: 2 for 8, for 57 yards, with 1 touchdown. Rushing: 33 carries, for 229 yards, with two touchdowns. A 32-yard kick return and two tackles.

Coolidge

No. 3 – Greg Rodriguez. 7 rushing yards, 83 receiving yards for a total of 90 yards.

No. 2 – Rashawn Fields. 7 receptions for 83 yards with two touchdowns.

No. 1 – Val Rodriguez. 13-of-21 for 196 yards, two touchdowns, and 62 rushing yards for a total of 258 yards.

HE SAID IT

“I think it’s helped me mature a lot, especially because last year I had somebody else that helped quite a bit, it’s hard on me, but it helps out the team at the same time, so it benefits both of us.” – Miles speaking about his first experience as a quarterback and the additional load he’s carrying this season.

 UP NEXT

Benjamin Franklin will face the Sabino Sabercats in Tucson on Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. The Sabercats are 23 – 2 on the season.

Coolidge will face the Catalina Trojans in Tucson on Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. The Trojans are 1 – 3 on the season.