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October 13, 2012

The Thunder roll

With a 42-21 win over Merced at Golden Valley High School, Buhach Colony has won 12 straight Central California Conference games. The Thunder were victorious behind a dominating running attack spearheaded by four touchdowns from Stefon Gold.

The Thunder used strong starts to both halves to gain a comfortable margin in eventually winning by three scores. After Joe Marquez, who also plays quarterback, halted Merced's opening drive with an interception, Buhach Colony went 89 yards in 11 plays capped by a nine yard touchdown run from Gold. Merced then punted and the Thunder traveled 78 yards on 12 plays in settling for a 23 yard field goal. Following another Merced punt, Buhach Colony needed just five plays and 52 yards to get a 2 yard score from Gold. This left Buhach Colony up 17-0 in also winning the time of possession (11:55 to 4:03) and total yards (219-18).

Merced fought back to trail just 29-21 at halftime, but Buhach Colony halted any talk of a comeback with a strong third quarter. Receiving the opening kickoff, Buhach Colony went 57 yards on 11 plays as Gold barreled in from three yards out. Forcing a subsequent three and out from Merced, the Thunder chewed up 46 yards on 11 plays as Marquez kept on an option play for a 13 yard touchdown. From halftime until the Marquez touchdown, BC controlled the ball for 10:36 of the possible 12:08 and gained 103 yards compared to -3 for the Bears.

Buhach employs multiple running backs to churn up yards with Gold being the leader on Friday with 149 yards and four scores. Leon Miles can also get yards between the tackles for 81 on the night and Roosevelt Edwards (25 yards) and Jayce Webster (85 yards) test the defense to the outside on sweeps. Webster also showed off his big play ability on an 89 yard kickoff return for a score.

In the first half, the Thunder were a step or two ahead of Merced on most plays, especially when faking the sweep and going up the middle with Gold. Buhach Colony runs plenty of misdirection and had a good feel for play calling throughout the game. The Bears' defense did a much better job in the second half of staying home on assignments, but couldn't make key stops or get Buhach Colony in bad down and distances consistently. Errol Daniels came up to make a number of nice plays and also finished with around 100 yards rushing for Merced.

While the stable of runners are skilled and put pressure on any defense, the anchor of the ground attack is offensive tackle Aaron Cochran. The 3-star prospect saw time at right and left tackle with plenty of action ran behind him. Some of his best plays came blocking defenders down the line of scrimmage as runners would go off tackle and outside to his side. Cochran has excellent size at 6-foot-8 and holds his ground well once engaged. He also made plenty of blocks downfield in looking more natural in space than from early season film against San Ramon Valley and Serra. It is tough to evaluate him as a pass blocker in Buhach Colony's scheme, but he shows the feet and athleticism to be at least solid in this department.

Cochran is by far the top lineman in the area, followed by Marin Catholic's Gunnar Graham at No. 25. He remains one of the top prospects in the area left uncommitted and has previously said he will officially visit Cal, UCLA, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

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