East County Sports

Sultans throw playoff party at expense of Central

By Adam Paul

© EastCountySports.com


SANTEE (11-13-15) — Many people would say that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day but don’t tell that to the Santana Sultans.  The No. 7 seeded Sultans hosted the No. 10 Spartans of Central Union, who came all the way from Imperial Valley.


CU at SAN Score

Despite the best efforts of the Spartans, Santana came away with the 48-30 victory to advance in the CIF Division IV playoffs.


The Sultans on the night were led by BOBBY WALLACE (25-197, 5 TDs), who on his first carry of the game for 6-yards, topped the 1,000 yard mark for the season. In doing so he became the first Sultans tailback to accomplish the feat since JERRAD SCHNAUTZ did so back in 2002.



This was just the beginning as the Sultans would march down the field on an 11 play 91-yard drive topped by a 10-yard scoring reception by JAMES BRANSON to give the Sultans the early 7-0 lead.


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The Spartans would answer with their own drive as they would score 11 plays later, compiling 59-yards to tie the score at 7-7.



So with the score tied, the Sultans looked for more but would have to wait as the first quarter came to an end.  On the possession, Santana would use a heavy dose of their star quarterback FRANKIE GUTIERREZ (13-16, 269 yards) as he was able to complete a 25-yard pass to BROCK ELLIS. This was followed by a JAMES BRANSON scamper to the 6-yard line.


The Sultans in good shape would use a little trickery as they called upon the halfback pass play. It was Gutierrez taking the snap and handing it off to Wallace, who then pitched it to AIDEN RASMUSSON who in turn found a wide open Gutierrez for the scoring strike to make it 14-7.



The lead for the Sultans wouldn’t last long as the Spartans took advantage of their confusing formations and drove 10 plays for 70-yards to tie the game at 14-14.  The Spartans would take their first lead of the game as they were able to create a break when they held the Sultans at their own 9-yard line.



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Santana sent out punter BROCK ELLIS and the Spartans were able to break through the line and block the attempted punt, the ball squirted into the end zone and went out the back for the safety to give the Spartans a 16-14 lead and also the ball with a little over a minute left in the half.



So with the momentum on the Spartans side for the time being, the Sultans defense would have to step up and they did so as they were able to force a couple of incomplete passes to force the Spartans a fourth down. Central Union looked to extend their lead by five but unfortunately their field goal kicker Alex Duarte missed the 47-yard attempt wide right.



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The missed field goal attempt gave the Sultans some new life as they held the advantage.  Santana took over on their own 20-yard line and the first play would be a long 19-yard rush by Wallace.  Now at their own 39-yard line, it would be the turn of the receiving corps as AIDEN RASMUSSON would haul in the 41-yard strike from Gutierrez to put Santana in Central territory at the 20-yard line. A couple of plays later the Sultans would retake the lead thanks to the 9-yard scamper by Wallace to give the Sultans a 21-16 lead.



Both teams were not with their first half offense as they would trade scores. However the Sultans would hold the advantage as they scored last and took the 28-23 lead into the locker room.


Offensively in the first half, both teams were pretty much even as the Sultans outgained the Spartans 300-211.  For the Sultans it was Wallace who led everyone with 98-yards and 2 touchdowns, while Gutierrez completed 7-8 for 172 yards with the one scoring pass.


The second half started with Santana getting first crack as they had kicked off to start the game. It was all the run game on the first possession but that didn’t matter as the Sultans scored a couple of minutes in to extend their lead 34-23.


TRyan Photography photo

So now with a little breathing room, the Sultans defense knew what they had to do and they were up to the task. The Spartans didn’t use any type of long passing game but more of little game to move the ball. The longest pass play would be a 14-yard reception by Duarte.


Things looked good for Santana as they were able to force a fourth down. The Spartans sent out their kicking unit but as Duarte missed the kick, and the Sultans were called for a roughing the kicker penalty that gave new life to Central.


The Spartans marched further down the field but were not able to take advantage as again Duarte missed, this time what looked like a chip shot at 28-yards but the Sultans line broke through and ADAM VARGO got his paws up and blocked the kick attempt.



So with the score still in favor of the Sultans 34-23, they would score a couple more times thanks to Wallace to round out their scoring.



ADAM CHILDRESS hauled in 6 balls for 110-yards for Santana while his mate Rasmusson caught 3 balls for 81-yards. With the 6 catches, Childress now has 46 on the season which puts him in sole possession of seventh on the all-time receptions in a season. Obviously this will change as the Sultans advance further in the playoffs.  Even his receiving mate, Rasmusson will look to break into the top leaders in a season with a couple more receptions as he now has 37 on the season.



Wallace with his 197-yards on the night now moves into third all-time in a season with 1,193. Next up on the list is CRAIG WILKERSON who tallied 1,243 yards back in 1989 and finally DREW PALMER who rushed for 1,244 yards in 1994.



The victory for the Sultans gives them their first playoff success since 2011 which was a magical year for Santana as they made it to the Division IV finals at Qualcomm Stadium where they lost to ValleyCenter 20-14.



If the Sultans look to make magic this time around they will have to do so from the road starting next week as they travel to No. 2 seed University City to take on the Centurions.

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