EC Preps

SULTANS BATTLE AND SURVIVE CONQUISTADORS

Sultans Randy Smith Hauls in Ball for Touchdown

2018 EASTCOUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

By Adam Paul

ECPREPS.COM

SANTANA 24, SERRA 22

In a battle of Division IV teams this seemed like it would be an even matchup but early on the Conquistadors used a six play scoring drive led by Timmy Zebroski and a 2-yard scoring run by Dustin Ellison to lead 8-0 after the 2-point conversion.

The Conquistadors would stop the Sultans on offense and with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter take a 16-0 lead as the Conquistadors attempted a fake punt and Thaddeus Tanner found Ellison for a 54-yard score.

After being shut down offensively the Sultans finally got rolling as they marched down the field in the second quarter and with 4:35 remaining in the first half Nathan Temple found Chaz Baker for the nice 34-yard over the shoulder sliding catch and score to pull within 16-7 which would be the score heading into the intermission as Serra couldn’t capitalize on their opportunity before half.

Neither team to start the second half would score right away and in fact, it wouldn’t be until the 2:28 mark that the Sultans would inch closer as Colton Snipes would bang a 26-yard field goal to pull within 16-10.

A couple minutes into the fourth quarter with the ball just about into Sultan territory and Serra with the ball Zebroski would step back and throw in which Ian Litten would step in front of and it was onto the races as there was no one in front of him for the 54-yard pick six to give the Sultans their first lead of the game 17-16. A couple minutes later the Sultans would extend their lead as Sean Iverson who had come into the game was able to find Randy Smith for a 73-yard score and extend the lead 24-16. With the touchdown, the Sultans rallied and scored 17 unanswered points against Serra and stormed back to pull within the lead and to eventually take the lead.

Leading by eight points the Sultans defense really stepped up and was able to do what they needed to do. However with about four minutes remaining the Conquistadors were able to fight back as Ellison scampered his way for a 41-yarder to pull within 24-22.

In one of the most dramatic of sequences, the Santana Sultans went from winning to nearly losing due to almost special teams deal. With the Conquistadors kicking the ball off one of the Sultan players decided to fall on it at their own 1-yard line instead of letting it bounce into the end zone for a touchback.

This play really brought the positive thoughts out from the fans as they had seen their Sultans march all the way back to lead only to possibly see the game snatched out by the jaws of defeat as Serra was able to stop Santana and force a punt. However, the Sultans defense really stepped up after allowing Serra to get within the 5-yard line with only a handful of seconds left.

The Conquistadors after failing to convert on the first three downs decided to bring out the field goal unit with about five or six seconds remaining but the snap was bad and the Sultans were able to make the sack stop.

Overall the Conquistadors outgained the Sultans 434-264 on the total offensive side of the ball.

For Santana, Temple on the night passed for 228 yards on 16 of 27 passing and 2 touchdowns while Randy Smith caught 7 balls for 150 yards and the touchdown, Baker also caught 3 balls for 42 yards and the one score.

Defensively, Colton Sniped led all Sultan defenders with 11 tackles and Litten had the interception pick six.

“They came to play the first half and we couldn’t make the plays, our intensity changed after halftime and it showed as the guys came to play. The guys battled.” Said Sultans headcoach Tim Estes when asked about his thoughts on the game after the win.

These two teams could meet again in the playoffs as they are both Division IV.

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