Photo by Johnny Tegg
There have been some classic matchups in El Paso High School football history, but none with multiple story lines like Americas-Franklin brings to the table this week.
Andress-Franklin back in 2001 (best game of all-time), Franklin-Montwood in 2004, Andress-Montwood in 2003, Andress-Chapin in 2006, Del Valle-Canutillo in 2013, Montwood-Pebble Hills in 2016, Montwood-Americas in 2016 are just a handful that quickly come to mind, and of course there were classic clashes between Andress and Irvin in the 1990’s and I’m sure I missed quite a few others. (Tweet us your best memories)
But in 2019, Franklin and Americas enter the SAC on Thursday night with a chance at giving the city an amazing show and sets the table for what should be a wild District 1-6A race for the playoffs and the all-important district title.
Franklin has been the best team in the city, destroying opponents with depth, talent, poise and experience along with a legendary head coach in the making, picking up where they left off last season and enter district play as the undisputed and defending district champs.
Americas has been the second-best team in the city, or 1b to Franklin’s 1a. The Blazers have a stellar defensive unit that is well coached and features several versatile talents that have put up numbers that stack up against anyone in the state. They also have an experienced head coach who gets his team prepared and poised for big games and has legendary clout as well.
And well…. Americas has the best player in the city in Aaron Dumas. Quarterback Mike Nowell is coming into his own as a star, wide out Ryan Acosta is a household name, and the defensive line made up of Dylan Kemp, Sebastian Guzman and others, mixed with linebackers Peter Velarde, Christian Martinez and defensive backs like Nathan Alvarado and Evan Chislom makes this a star-studded affair.
Franklin has tons of star talent as well. A FBS commit (New Mexico) in Gabe Stonewall who is a real downfield threat in the passing game, an experienced quarterback in Danny Walther who can take over games, and an all-state candidate at linebacker in David Powers. They also have developed a core of hard to defend wide outs, and their backfield is also stacked behind a stout offensive line led by Ramon Diaz.
All those names and talents make this game extra special but….
This game means more than just an upper hand in what should be a tight district title race in District 1-6A, it means El Paso 6A teams are legit threats in the playoffs for the first time in a while.
Both Franklin and Americas have the potential to make a few weeks’ worth of playoff memories, but it starts this week in this mega matchup.
Pebble Hills and Montwood are two other teams who will not be easy to beat down the road for either Franklin and Americas and being able to start off 1-0 in district is key for all four of these teams who figure to be in the playoff race and have shots at fighting for a district title as well.
It’s been a while since the clear-cut two best teams in the city squared off, and on Thursday night, the SAC should be packed with excitement as the two teams who have a shot to represent El Paso deep into a late November early December playoff run set the table for a district schedule that should be just as exciting.
This one will be too close to predict, no “experts” can predict this one because it should be a roller coaster of a game. Time roll the ball out, sit back, and let the players do their thing.
This one will be fun.