STOCKTON — Weston Ranch football took a risk by moving former quarterback Amier Bowen to running back during its bye week.

On Friday night, the Cougars claimed a reward for that risk.

Bowen sprinted, bulldozed, and zig-zagged his way around Verner Field with 11 carries for 207 yards and three touchdowns as Weston Ranch manhandled host Franklin 41-19.

The former quarterback’s TD runs were from 29, 40 and 55 yards. Bowen’s 55-yard sprint down the right sideline came directly after a 10-yard Franklin touchdown pass from Sam Del Rio to Elias Muro and buried the Yellowjackets.

Bowen’s successor Atlantis Gholston came through with three touchdown passes – two to Fletcher Pitts (both on screens) and another to Andrew Williams. Julius Nelson nabbed a fourth quarter interception for the Cougars (1-1), who improved mightily during a bye week after being dismantled 34-0 by Ripon in Week 0.

Bowen’s 207 yards were a game-high, but he did not overshadow his Yellowjackets counterpart. Franklin senior Felipe “Flip” Figueroa was a nightmarish matchup for Weston Ranch, taking 19 carries for 202 yards.

The 6-foot, 200-pound tailback did not manage a touchdown on the ground, but had a diving 33-yard TD reception from Del Rio in the first half.

Figueroa set up the connection from Del Rio to Muro with a theatrical 87-yard run to the Cougars’ 6, including a handful of missed tackles as he rumbled down the field.

Weston Ranch led 27-7 at the break, and Franklin never came within three touchdowns in the second half. Del Rio had a final touchdown pass in the waning moments — from 1 yard away to senior captain Ivan Castillo.

The Yellowjackets (0-3) are now on a bye week and host Modesto High on Sept. 14. Franklin is on a five-game losing streak dating to October 2017.

Weston Ranch hosts Atwater-Buhach Colony at 7 p.m. next Friday. The Cougars had been in the Valley Oak League for the entirety of their program’s history, but are now in the Western Athletic League.

Weston Ranch has a first-year coach in Kevin Breaker, and is seeking its first winning season since 2005.