By Christian Molinar
EL PASO, Texas – Hanks’ red zone defense was the key difference maker in tonight’s contest in which Hanks pulled away 45-23 Friday night at Bowie’s Baty-Simmang Stadium.
Early on the teams traded touchdowns in a hurry and it was shaping up to be a shootout on the south side. Turnovers and missed opportunities would slow down Bowie, but Hanks remained full speed ahead until the finish line.
Two minutes into the game Bowie got on the board with a 58-yd touchdown reception to Julian Hernandez. The Bears had been a run first team but caught Hanks off guard by opening up the offense with an effective pass game.
Hanks would take two minutes as well to score their first touchdown as they did twice in week one. Hasim Pina-Peterson would get plenty of touches on the first possession and top off the drive with a 12-yard run right up the middle to tie the game.
Less than four minutes in we had seen two scores although this is where Hanks would separate themselves for the remainder of the game.
Bowie on the very next possession would drive down the field inside the red zone. A mishandled snap exchange resulting in a fumble would benefit the Knights. Hanks would just need the very next play to find Mykal Blanco for an 82 yard go route up the sideline for an easy score.
Bowie double teamed Blanco all night, but the talented senior was able to get 160 yards receiving on the night.
Bowie would continue to struggle inside the red zone only scoring twice on six trips inside the Hanks 20-yard line all night (33% success rate). Most of that would be going for in on 4th down inside the 5-yard line. Hanks would add two more scores before halftime to jump out ahead 26-7 at the break.
The second half had an interesting start as Bowie quickly recovered an onside kick, stealing a possession from the Knights. That sparked the entire team and Bowie was able to capitalize via the air attack once again with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Carlos Varela.
It brought Bowie to within two scores and some momentum on their side. The unthinkable risk would once again pay off for Bowie as the Bears recovered a second onside kick on the ensuing kickoff.
A rarity in football to recover not one but two onside kicks. Bowie would get close to the end zone but turn the ball over on downs inside the 3-yard line. Once again, the Knights red zone defense would stiffen when it mattered most.
With a minute left in the third quarter Aaron Molina found Blanco again for a score, this time on a screen pass that would result in a 40-yard touchdown increasing the margin to three score lead.
Bowie would find the end zone one last time early in the fourth quarter on a pass to Hernandez for 21-yards but the rest of the highlights went to Hanks.
The Bears would again attempt on onside try, but this time Aaron Candelaria would torch Bowie for 50-yard touchdown return and thus deflating the bears comeback effort.
Hanks’ Ever Chavez would get into the end zone to top off the scoring for Hanks and seal the victory 45-23.
After much thought, the Speaking Rock player of the game was a tough one. Hanks did spread the wealth to all its play makers and Aaron Molina did well at the QB position, however the Hanks red zone defense stepped up big tonight to prevent the close game we all predicted. That entire unit was our player of the game choice.
Bowie moves to 1-1 and will face off Clint High School next week. Hanks will improve to 2-0 and will see Fabens next week.