BIG SPRING — Major Stockton had lost to Coahoma all three years of his high school career in the Howard County Bowl.
He was bound and determined to not let Coahoma get a clean sweep.
The senior was instrumental on offense and led a defense that had a bend but don’t break mentality as the Forsan Buffaloes opened their season with a 35-14 win over the Bulldogs at Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
Stockton played a key role as a defensive leader as Forsan had three different defensive goal line stands that ended with a Coahoma turnover on downs inside the 3-yard line.
Those three stops amounted to the difference in an otherwise even rivalry game.
“We have been looking forward to this game since it happened last year,” Stockton said. “We knew it was our year and the best season we are going to have, by far. I had full faith in everyone in front of me.”
With defensive stands at their own 1-, 2- and 3-yard lines, Stockton was quick to heap praise on his teammates.
“Our defense was incredible (Friday),” he said. “We started off slow and had a few nerves up front, but once we got going, we were unstoppable. You can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Coahoma coach Cody Joslin was quick to credit Forsan while also lamenting the missed opportunities.
“It wasn’t a blowout at all,” he said. “If we do what Coahoma football usually does and put it in the end zone, it’s a different ballgame at the end. Not going to take anything away from Coach (Jason) Phillips and that football team. They are a bunch of seniors and we are a young football team.
“We grew up (Friday) and it’s going to help us for the rest of the year.”
It wasn’t just the defense that was clicking for the Buffaloes. The offense converted 10-of-17 third down opportunities while putting up just shy of 300 yards.
“Even on third down, we have no doubts in our minds (that we can convert),” said Stockton. “We are thinking its first down. Nothing ever changes and we are going to keep pushing. The big guys up front, man, I’ve never seen holes that big in my entire life. I was running without thinking about being touched.”
Stockton had 98 yards rushing and just nine carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. After crowds were limited due to the pandemic last year, he said he was fueled by having a rowdy crowd to kick off the year.
“We have the support of all the communities around us,” he said. “This was 10 times better and we play football for the fans. We are out here for our communities, not ourselves, and having this many people out here makes it so much better.”
The Bulldogs started quickly with Ky Kemper taking the first play of the game 51 yards to the Forsan 34. After a false start, two Brysen Kerby runs had Coahoma in the red zone. Kerby, who carried the ball on the final six plays of the drive, was stopped at the Forsan 2-yard line to end the drive.
Coahoma forced a punt, but two penalties and a short Kerby run later, the Bulldogs were punting from their own 21 when Billy Bailey was only able to get off a 9-yard punt.
Stockton took advantage leading a six-play drive and scoring his first touchdown of the night with 29 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Kemper fumbled on Coahoma’s first play and Brandon Valdez recovered but the Bulldogs defense came up with a big play when Stockton’s desperation heave on third and long was intercepted by Billy Starr.
After two big offensive plays, the Coahoma offense was stopped at the Forsan 12 on downs. Once again, the defense rose to the occasion and forced a punt.
“Our defense has been playing good for the last three years,” Joslin said. “It’s not so much momentum as it is we didn’t get the job done inside the 20. Hats off to them, but we will learn and grow from this.”
This time, the Bulldogs capitalized with Kerby punching it in from four yards out with 4:48 left in the first half. It took just over a minute for Forsan to counter with a 57-yard touchdown run from Stockton for a 14-6 lead.
Coahoma’s next possession ended in disaster as a bad snap on a punt attempt gave Forsan the ball at the Bulldogs 10-yard line. Three plays later, Chris Mendez pushed the lead to two scores with a four-yard run up the middle.
After trading punts to start the second half, Forsan pushed the lead to 28-6 on an 11-yard touchdown run from Nathaniel Hernandez.
Coahoma had a chance to cut the deficit in response, but Kerby was stuffed on fourth down from the 1-yard line. The drive had started with a 67-yard reception by Kerby down to the Forsan 10.
The teams then traded scores in the final two minutes with Kevin Kligora’s 11-yard run putting Forsan up 35-6 before freshman Jaidyn Vineyard took his second varsity carry 75 yards for the game’s final score.
FORSAN 35, COAHOMA 14
FOR — Major Stockton 2 run (Nolan Park kick), :29
COA — Bryson Kerby 4 run (kick failed), 4:48
FOR — Stockton 57 run (Park kick), 3:25
FOR — Chris Mendez 4 run (Park kick), :54
FOR — Nathaniel Hernandez 11 run (Park kick), 3:10
FOR — Kevin Kilgore 11 run (Park kick), 1:37
COA — Jaidyn Vineyard 75 run (Kerby pass from Billy Bailey), 1:22
RUSHING — Forsan, Major Stockton 9-98, Christ Mendez 19-60, Kevin Kilgora 6-49, Nathaniel Hernandez 10-34, Team 2-(minus-2). Coahoma, Brysen Kerby 25-138, Jaidyn Vineyard 2-81, Ky Kemper 3-48, Billy Bailey 4-(minus-1), Team 2-(minus-23).
PASSING — Forsan, Stockton 4-11-1—58. Coahoma, Bailey 5-11-0—145.
RECEIVING — Forsan, Josh Cervantes 2-31, Cayden Morgan 2-27. Coahoma, Kerby 2-87, Arian Emerson 2-53, Rance Redden 1-5.
RECORDS — Forsan 1-0, Coahoma 0-1.