Home Away from Home: Benjamin Franklin Wins Big in Season Opener

3 months ago Andrew Luberda 1

The Benjamin Franklin football team opened its season with a “home” game at the Round Valley Dome, where it handily defeated visiting Ganado on Saturday afternoon, 63 – 6.  The game was the first of two between the teams that will be played at the dome in consecutive years. Ganado will serve as the home team in 2019.

Despite the more than three-hour trip to northeast Arizona, the Chargers didn’t suffer any apparent “bus” lag, as evidenced by their second offensive play from scrimmage, when senior running back Chandler Miles dashed 29 yards for a touchdown.

Miles, a Player of the Year candidate, scored three more touchdowns in the first half, including a 79-yard punt return, before his day’s work was complete with the Chargers leading at halftime, 49 – 6.

Benjamin Franklin’s Zach Jefferies (24) just misses blocking a Ganado punt during Saturday’s first quarter at the Round Valley Dome. (Ralph Amsden)

“I thought we played great,” Miles said afterwards. “We expected (Ganado) to (perform) a little bit better than they (did), but I think we played well and didn’t (play) down to their level.”

Perhaps the Hornets weren’t at their best on Saturday, but that’s likely a testament to how well Benjamin Franklin performed. The Hornets won’t play another team during the regular season as powerful on both sides of the ball as the Chargers.

“(Our guys) did what they were supposed to do,” Benjamin Franklin head coach Dave Jefferies told CountyLinePreps.com. “Ganado was a little outmanned. They put up a fight and their kids played hard.

“I was a little worried going in that our guys would be a little overconfident, but they played and executed well. Overall, a pretty good job by everybody.”

MOMENT(S) THAT MATTERED

Jefferies injured: Junior running back Zach Jefferies injured his left knee during the first quarter of Saturday’s win and did not return. Neither the extent of the injury nor his status going forward were known during Saturday’s postgame session.

Chancin Loving, a sophomore, replaced Jefferies and ran for three touchdowns. He scored on a five-yard run with 10:09 remaining in the second quarter before adding a 30-yard score with 5:05 left in the half. He saved his best for last, scoring on a 67-yard run during the opening minute of the third quarter.

“To me, (Chancin) can do everything that Zach did last year,” Dave Jefferies said. “I feel like weight room-wise, ability-wise he’s no different than what Zach was last year.

“We’re going to have him get after it. This is a great opportunity for him to become a starter and see what he’s made of. He’s a young kid with great ability and he’s a special athlete. We’re excited about Chancin.”

The Chargers’ offensive line can’t get any lower. (Ralph Amsden)

Fast start: The Chargers’ offensive and defensive lines set the tone from the start. The defense took the field first, recording consecutive negative plays to setup a short field for the offense, which it took advantage of on the second play from scrimmage.

“Our offensive line dominated them, which made it much easier,” Miles said.

Added Dave Jefferies: “We try to show a lot of love to (both units). They’re the unsung heroes. They played well; they stayed low, they hit hard and they stayed at it. We put bodies on bodies on offense and defensively, we found our way through to the backfield and made a lot of big plays for losses.”

 

 

THREE STARS

No. 3 – The Chargers’ offensive and defensive lines.

No. 2 – Chancin Loving. Three touchdown runs.

No. 1 – Chandler Miles. Four touchdowns, including three rushing and a punt return.

HE SAID IT

“(The win is) bittersweet with Zach going down. We’ll see what’s going on with him, but I really don’t know.” – Dave Jefferies addressing his son Zach’s injury 

UP NEXT

Benjamin Franklin will make the trek back to northeast Arizona for the second-straight week to play at Snowflake on Friday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m.

The Lobos won their season opener on Friday night, defeating Safford at home, 22 – 7.

“I want us to go into next week thinking that we’re going to dominate the line of scrimmage like we did (Saturday),” Miles said.