HANFORD – The first quarter couldn't have gone any better for the Hanford football team in its season opener Friday.
But as the game went on, mistakes started to mount and momentum came to a halt.
After holding Buchanan to just 11 yards of offense in the first quarter, forcing two 3-and-outs on its only possessions, Hanford became turnover prone with the Bears taking advantage.
With the Bullpups leading 6-0 early in the second, Hanford twice coughed up fumbles that turned into Buchanan touchdowns quickly.
They were two of four lost fumbles on the night as Hanford was outscored 34-0 in the second quarter and 48-0 the rest of the way during a 48-6 loss.
Hanford head coach Josh Young was happy with how the Bullpups came out the gate.
“We started the game off on the right foot,” Young said. “But then we started to shoot ourselves in the foot. You can't make that many mistakes against a good team. They took advantage of it.”
On the opening drive of the game, it was the Bullpups that took advantage of Buchanan's mistakes.
A good kickoff return and a personal foul gave Hanford its first possession in Buchanan territory.
Adam Avila caught a pass from quarterback Juaron Watts-Brown on 4th-and-11 to extend the drive and Daylon Davis scored on a nine-yard run to make it 6-0 with 7:23 left in the first quarter.
That was all the scoring Hanford would do.
After forcing back-to-back three-and-outs, Hanford looked to be on its way to a two-score lead after a botched punt by Buchanan gave the Bullpups possession at the Bear 17.
Hanford lost possession on a fumble on the first play of the drive and Buchanan drove 86 yards on eight plays with sophomore Kendall Milton scoring his first of four touchdowns on a screen pass from 31 yards out, catching Hanford in a blitz to take the lead at 7-6.
After the ensuing kickoff, Hanford again fumbled on the drive's first play, giving Buchanan possession inside the Bullpup 15.
Back-to-back runs by Milton pushed the lead to 14-6 and it would just balloon from there, as Buchanan scored after a Hanford 3-and-out and then another lost fumble.
That made it 34-6 at the half with Buchanan scoring twice more in the third quarter before the game ended with a running clock in the fourth due to mercy rule.
Milton, who is ranked as one of the top running backs in his class, finished the night with 11 carries for 85 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore also had one catch for 31 yards.
For Hanford, Travone Houston led the way with nine carries for 58 yards, but Hanford was held to just 160 yards of offense.
Young was pleased with the team's effort.
“The kids played hard,” Young said. “They didn't stop competing.”
Back in town
Hanford High honored alumnus Mark Lee before the game. Lee, a 1976 graduate of Hanford High, played 12 seasons in the NFL and was recently named to the Green Bay Packers' Hall of Fame.
Friday, Lee was given the key to the city of Hanford.
Lee also participated in the game's coin toss.
Hanford's next game is Sept. 1. The Bullpups host Sanger, which won the Central Section Div. II title in 2016. The Apaches are now in Div. I. Sanger won its season opener 42-10 over Fresno.