Westerners put an end to NMMI’s postseason hopes with 75-65 victory in play-in game
NMMI Sports Press
The Bronco football team earned their first Southwest Junior College Football Conference win over visiting Cisco College, 55-38, in a Saturday match delayed by a brief thunderstorm.
NMMI struck just as quickly as the lightning which came down and forced an extended halftime, with freshman Fred Jackson taking back the opening kick for a 102-yard touchdown.
“The kickoff return to start the game was huge,” said head Bronco coach Joe Forchtner. “That’s coach [Drew] Thatcher’s baby – he always tells us that we’re undefeated when we run the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. That really set the tone for the game – nothing gives instant energy like taking back the initial kick for a score. Of course, credit to Fred for a great run-back, but he had a lot of good blocks that helped spring him.”
That spark gave life to the entire team, especially soph QB Cody Frampton and the Institute offense. They flashed up and down the field for almost 500 total yards of offense on the night, seemingly able to score at will.
After marching midway into NMMI territory, the Bronco ‘D’ put an end to the Wrangler’s opening drive, as freshman linebacker Jaren Banks intercepted a Cisco pass at the NMMI 25 and returned it 33 yards to the Cisco 42.
Five plays later, Frampton picked up his first of the three rushing touchdowns he’d record in the game, a 15-yard scamper into pay-dirt to put NMMI up 14-0 with 8:12 still left in the first quarter.
Cisco immediately struck back, however, managing their own 7-play 65-yard drive to make it 14-7 with 4:59 remaining in the initial period.
NMMI countered with a 14-play, 57-yard combo, resulting in a 35-yard field goal by freshman placekicker Roland Tyson – NMMI up 17-7, with 13:40 still to go in the second.
The two teams then traded field goals to round out the scoring before the end of the half: The Wrangler’s FG came after they blocked a Bronco punt, making it a one-score ballgame, 17-10; Tyson’s second attempt was from 20 yards and put NMMI back up 20-10.
After nature’s fireworks left the eight-mile safe zone, the second half began, resulting in a little over an hour delay. But despite the postponement, or perhaps even because of it, NMMI outscored their opponents 21-7 in the third quarter.
“The way we came out after the lightning delay was huge as well,” stated Forchtner. “Our defense came in and got us three straight stops, and our offense came out and scored three touchdowns. We had two lightning delays this week during practice, which I think made ready.”
The first of the trio of Bronco touchdowns came at the 11:15 mark in the third. The Bronco defense pinned the Wranglers back at their 16 and forced a three-and-out, giving NMMI possession at the Cisco 47 after the punt. After a pair of short runs, Frampton collected his first of three touchdown passes, connecting with soph WR Kaleo Piceno on a 44-yard middle slant.
After another 1-2-3-punt performance by the Black Swarm ‘D’, NMMI again scored. This time the Bronco offense needed just a single play, with Frampton hitting freshman WR Quantavious Moore on the fly route, good for a 63-yard touchdown.
Cisco then scored on an eight-play, 75-yard drive to make it 34-17 with 5:23 remaining in the third quarter.
The Institute’s final score in the period came on a 26-yard rumble into the end zone by Frampton, capping an 11-play, 72-yard series. NMMI up 41-17 with 2:03 left.
Cisco immediately countered with two straight touchdowns, again making it a close two-score game, 41-31. The first Wrangler score spanned the remainder of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters, 11 plays and 75 yards for the touchdown. The next TD came less than two minutes later, after a 58-yard punt return.
NMMI put the game out of reach, however, by scoring on their next two possessions. The first came on a short hot-route pass from Frampton to Jackson. Jackson juked his way downfield for the 56-yard touchdown. The second was another Frampton rushing TD, this time from 18 yards out, finishing an 8-play, 51-yard drive that ate up four minutes of the clock.
Cisco managed one final TD at the tail end of the game – 2:59 left on the clock – to complete the scoring for the contest.
“Cody did great; our receivers, including Quantavious Moore, made some incredible catches; the O-line played great and blocked well,” explained Forchtner about the 497 yard of total offense garnered by his offense. “Every single person on our offense did their job tonight. And that’s what happens when we do that: we get 500 yards of total offense. We need to have that happen again next week. It’s nice when everything is executed the way to want it. Our offense, they just did a very good job. Cisco blitzes a lot and so we knew it was going to be boom or bust – knew that they were going to make some tackles for losses but that we just had to keep working – and fortunately it was more boom for us tonight. We didn’t drop back as much with our passing game, because we knew they blitzed so much. A lot of our passes came off of motion or play action, to help try and keep from having seven of their guys rushing into the pocket.”
Frampton’s performance was electrifying. He rushed for 132 yards and three TD on 19 carries, then passed for 324 more and another 3 TDs on 16 completions and 25 attempts. Moore had two catches for 87 yards and the afore-mentioned TD; Clarence Williams had 5 receptions for 85 yards; Jackson caught three passes for 70 yards and the TD; and Tyreik Campbell hauled in three tosses for 21 yards.
While exceptionally pleased with the offensive outburst, coach Forchtner mentioned a few miscues his team needs to fix before their next game, on the road vs. Navarro College on Sat. Oct. 13 at 3 pm CDT.
“That punt return was inexcusable,” noted Forchtner. “We had six guys within two yards [of the ball-carrier]. So that play’s not sitting real well with me.”
“Also, you shouldn’t ever be able to block a punt through the center of the back shield,” continued Forchtner, “but we had two new guys back there and we messed up. But our defense actually came up with a huge stop, allowing only a field goal. I thought our defense played well, executed what we needed to, and made some key stops when we had to. But we didn’t finish the plays with tackles very well – just gave up too many extra yards. That something we’ve been working on and I guess we just continue to keep working on it, but we’ll get it fixed. “
A win at Navarro next week, and again at home vs. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M the week thereafter, could put the Broncos right in the middle of the playoff pack.
“This league is crazy – no undefeated teams and everyone beating up on everyone else,” explained Forchtner about the standings in the SWJCFC. “You can draw about five circles describing who’s beaten who, and it just goes around and around. But Navarro next week will be tough. They’re good and probably the most athletic team we’ll face this season.”