The Franklin football team’s quarterback was most impressive in his team’s most stressful moments.
Julian Serrano, a senior and returning starter, was placed under pressure a handful of times during the first half of his team’s 26-21 season-opening win Friday at Linden High. But Serrano, wearing No. 3 and resembling Russell Wilson with not just the number, but with his agility, turned three would-be sacks into a total of 30 positive yards.
Through three quarters, Serrano had thrown for 357 yards, completing 22 of 28 passes, and throwing four touchdowns: 22, 30 and 30 yards to Damion Pursley and 26 yards to Juan Castillo.
Sure, the Yellowjackets (1-0) had plenty of screen passes to make life easier, but Serrano also displayed a pretty touch on deeper throws to Pursley, who had 10 catches for 175 yards and three TDs through three quarters.
That’s why Serrano is my Week 0 Player of the Game. For every game I cover in 2016, as I’ve done in 2014 and 2015 at The Record, we’ll pick a Player of the Game and do some honorable mention nods.
DAMION PURSLEY (Franklin WR/DB, senior)
Pursley was absolutely dominant. His speed, length, hands, instincts and route-running completely overwhelmed the Lions’ secondary from beginning to end. He has the ability to be patient when need be, and to take over as well.
STEVIE THOMPSON (Franklin WR, senior)
Lost in the big night of Serrano and Pursley, was an excellent performance by Thompson, who uses his speed and deceptive strength to pick up a bunch of yardage after the catch.
HUNTER WHITE (Linden RB/LB, senior)
White manhandled Franklin’s defense, in the first half, at least. By the break, White had eight carries for 166 yards, including runs of 76 and 60 yards. Rowdy Reed had both of the Lions’ rushing touchdowns.
JUAN CASTILLO (Franklin TE/DL)
Castillo, whose brother Luis Castillo had an interception, hauled in the first TD of the season (26 yards from Serrano on a post) and exploded for a second-half sack. Franklin depends on two-way players and Juan Castillo has to keep it up for them to stay competitive with deeper teams once San Joaquin Athletic Association play begins.
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