HANFORD — The 18th Annual Dog Bowl had excitement on both sides to start, but it quickly became a one-sided affair with Hanford continuing its dominating grasp on the crosstown series. The Bullpups (1-0) scored 41 points in the first quarter alone and were off to the races as they went on to win 79-0 over the rival Huskies (0-1) in the season opener at the Neighbor Bowl on Friday.
“Our kids were pretty pumped coming into the game,” Hanford coach Josh Young said. “We executed really well. We ran our offense we ran the defense the way that we wanted to. There’s some stuff that we have to clean up … but I was proud of the way they played.”
Hanford running back Luttrell Young led the offense with a game-high three touchdowns and 77 yards rushing, including the first score of the night on a 7-yard run to take the lead 24 seconds into the game. His second came on a 12-yard run to close the half and his third was another 12-yard run to start the third quarter.
“The linemen did good first of all, the linemen had some good blocking,” Luttrell Young said. “I just hit the holes that they made for me.”
In a game that now means nothing — after Hanford West moved to the Central Sequoia League last season — the Bullpups played like it was worth everything.
“It’s a thrill, it’s a rush and it’s an awesome feeling,” Hanford linebacker Tyler Mello, who had a game-high 16 tackles, said about winning the Dog Bowl. “We just got to keep the tradition going, keep it rolling.”
Hanford running back Anthony James and wide receiver PJ Martinez each scored twice, while Taryn Rubalcava, Jaedn Della, Travone Houston and Brandon Ramirez scored the other touchdowns. James led the team with four catches and 60 receiving yards.
Bullpups quarterback Juaron Watts-brown was nearly perfect going 10-for-12 for 153 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes.
Della jumped a hitch route in the first quarter, intercepted a pass and took it back 14 yards for the touchdown to give the Bullpups a 20-0 lead after a failed 2-point conversion. Hanford had two other interceptions by Matthew Pulido and Stephen Stryd.
The defense also recorded six sacks with Mello and Trace Gonzales each collecting two.
“We took advantage of what was given to us,” Young said about the 41-point first quarter. “It’s a numbers game. We were wanting to run the ball a little more, but when things open up on the outside it’s kind of part of the game.”
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Hanford started the second quarter on a five-play, 65-yard drive capped off by Houston’s 29-yard touchdown run. They went into halftime leading 56-0 — their largest halftime lead in any Dog Bowl.
A running clock was implemented throughout the second half and the Bullpups pulled the majority of their starters. They led 72-0 after the third and still managed to score 23 second-half points ending with Ramirez’s 2-yard touchdown run — the first of his career.
Even more impressive than some of the individual scoring was the fact that the Bullpups found the end zone on all 10 of their offensive possessions. They never punted and never faced a fourth down, and only two third downs.
Hanford West struggled in almost every facet of the game. They lost both their starting and backup quarterback and had Keantre Davis — who had never played quarterback — in as the signal caller.
“We had to make so many changes on the fly,” Hanford West coach Matthew Tesoriere said. “We don’t have a lot of subs and … it’s a very busy thing and you’re just trying every single play because someone’s going down and it takes a lot out of you.”
The Huskies never crossed midfield and failed to record a first down other than via penalty. Injuries really hampered them from getting anything going on either side of the ball and were apparent with sack after sack and turnover after turnover.
“The biggest thing is effort,” Tesoriere said about the positive he saw from his team. “They didn’t give up. I was asking them to basically play when they were banged up and they said yeah. We didn’t have any unsportsmanlike conducts we didn’t have any late hits, so as far as that goes that’s what we want from our players.”
After last year’s 63-6 rout, the Bullpups set a new record for margin of victory (79 points) and largest shutout in Dog Bowl history. The previous, and only, shutout was when Hanford won 21-0 in 2016.
“We just executed on the game plan we didn’t really have a lot of selfish players, so we were just able to do what we needed to do on every play,” Mello said. “It’s always fun. It’s an adrenaline rush. You just want to get to the next play so you can get in the backfield again.”
The Bullpups have now won six Dog Bowls in a row equaling the record for longest win streak when they won six in a row from 2006-11. Hanford now leads the all-time series 14-4.
Hanford will face Sanger (1-0) on the road next Friday at 7:30 p.m. Hanford West will face Corcoran (0-1) on the road next Friday at 7:30 p.m.