HANFORD — Juaron Watts-brown’s scored three touchdowns, while Travone Houston and Luttrell Young kept pace on the ground as the Bullpups cruised to a 34-13 win behind a strong second half.
Leading Fresno (0-3) 14-6 at halftime, the Bullpups (2-1) controlled the first half, but penalties and miscues halted multiple drives.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot offensively with turnovers and penalties,” Hanford coach Josh Young said. “We've got to clean that up obviously. I thought we finished the game very well. We’re starting to get our game legs underneath us. We've got to execute better in practice. We've got to be mindful of the little things … and we just have to continue to get better.”
The second-half start wasn’t ideal with a three-and-out and then the Warriors (0-2) scoring on a 56-yard touchdown catch and run to cut the lead to one after the extra point.
“I think we came together as a team in the second half,” Young said. “We need to build off of that into the next week.”
But after that score, the defense tightened up, the offense revved up and Bullpups football came alive. Hanford methodically moved down the field on the next drive and scored on an 8-yard touchdown catch by Juaron Watts-brown. It was his second receiving touchdown of the night with both passes coming from quarterback Joseph Estrella and made the score 21-13 after three quarters.
“It broke down, [Estrella] couldn’t get the ball out right away,” Watts-brown said. “Then he got out and I moved into the back of the end zone and he threw a good ball.”
Watts-brown continued his scoring ways in the fourth quarter. Facing a third-and-16 from Fresno’s 16-yard line, Watts-brown broke the pocket and ran to the outside, juked a defender and found the pylon for his third touchdown of the night.
“Just trying to help the team win,” Watts-brown said about his performance. “Do whatever I could do to put the pieces together and get this team a W every single game.”
Fresno touched the ensuing kickoff and Hanford jumped on the live ball to recover it at Fresno’s 27-yard line. Bullpups running back Luttrell Young took over from there and finished off the short drive with a 2-yard touchdown. Hanford linebacker Matthew Pulido intercepted the final pass of the game as the clock read zero to cap the game.
“We did amazing,” Houston said. “We came together as a team. During halftime we went into the locker room and talked about stuff we needed to work on and we went out and executed it perfectly.”
During the first quarter, both the Bullpups’ and Warriors’ offenses struggled to move the ball. It wasn’t until Hanford took over at its own 30-yard line with 6:15 to go that they started to click. They moved the ball to the Fresno 11-yard line where Estrella hooked up with Watts-brown for 11 yards near the pylon to open the scoring.
The score remained 7-0 after the first. Hanford had the ball to start the second and drove 58 yards culminating in a Houston touchdown from seven yards out.
“My line did a perfect job,” Houston said. “They made a hole, I found it, I got in, protected the ball — I didn’t want to fumble — and got in there and scored.”
The Warriors scored on a 20-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, but the Bullpups blocked the extra point to keep it an eight-point game.
The Bullpups have a short week and turn around to play Porterville (2-0) at home on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
“Porterville’s got a tremendous offense. We’ve got to get better in the secondary,” Young said. “We’ll celebrate the win tonight and then we've got to go back to work.”