Branham turns tables on neighborhood rival Leigh to stay unbeaten

SAN JOSE — Branham’s power running game had met little resistance in the first three games of the season. Friday’s matchup against local rival and frequent nemesis Leigh proved to be a little tougher.

But the end result was the same, a 28-13 victory as the Bruins improved to 4-0.

William Augenstein, Branham’s 6-foot-3, 200-pound quarterback, carried 27 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Elias Antillion added another 100 yards as Branham pounded at the Leigh defense with 52 running plays for 294 yards.

Impressive totals, but over the first three games in wins over Cupertino, Oak Grove and Gunderson, the Bruins averaged 10.2 yards per carry — as a team.

Branham's Elias Antillon (2) runs with the ball during the Leigh at Branham football game on Friday, September 16, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)
Branham’s Elias Antillon (2) runs with the ball during the Leigh at Branham football game on Friday, September 16, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

“As the season goes along we’ll definitely get more involved in the passing game and we’ll explode offensively, off the charts,” Augenstein said. “I really believe our football team will be completely unstoppable.”

Leigh had Branham’s number in recent years, winning the last two and five of the last seven meetings between the neighborhood rivals.

Stephen Johnson, Branham’s 30-year-old coach, played at Branham a dozen years ago.

“About damn time,” Johnson said of beating Leigh. “It’s something I never experienced as a player.”

Leigh (0-4) dominated much of the first quarter and took a 7-0 lead on an 8-yard pass from Tyler Donaldson to Dylan Christian.

But then Branham took over with a pair of long touchdown drives to go up 14-7 at halftime.

Following Leigh’s score, the Bruins went 77 yards in 11 plays with Gabriel Morgan, a center and defensive tackle wearing number 50, lining up in the backfield and running the final 10 yards of the drive for a touchdown.

Then after forcing a punt, Branham put together an 85-yard, 15-play drive that concluded on the first of the three Augenstein touchdowns, a 10-yard run.

Leigh’s first possession of the third quarter resulted in a lost fumble on the first play —– one of three turnovers that hurt the Longhorns’ cause —– and Branham took over with a short field at the Leigh 27. Augenstein’s 4-yard run put the Bruins up by two scores.

Branham increased its lead to 28-7 on Augenstein’s 19-yard scoring run with 3:54 left. Leigh’s hard-running Shayan Shariat, who picked up 91 yards on 16 carries, plunged in from the 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.

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