East County Sports

Sultans claim title game throne

Santana's BOBBY WALLACE rushes for a touchdown Friday night against Monte Vista. / photo by Ramon Scott




By Chris Davis
© East County Sports.com


SPRING VALLEY (11-26-16) — For three quarters of the game, the Santana Sultans and Monte Vista Monarchs were nip and tuck… then the fourth quarter came.



Santana and Monte Vista players in a scramble Friday night. / TRyan Photography

At the end of 36 minutes of football the score was Monte Vista (7-5) 18, Santana (8-4) 15.


When the final horn sounded however, the Sultans were the ones that were celebrating as they won the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV semifinal, 35-32.


For those that don’t want to do the math that would be 33 total points in the first three quarters and 34 total points in the fourth quarter, alone.


“It was a great high school game,” Monte Vista head coach RON HAMAMOTO said after the game.  “It is too bad that someone had to lose.”



Santana’s BOBBY WALLACE runs around the left side Friday night. / TRyan Photography

On the other side of the field, Santana head coach TIM ESTES was quoted as saying “It was an excellent fourth quarter.”


About four minutes into the game the Monarchs super sophomore JAHMON McCLENDON (40 carries for 267 yards and three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion) capped off a 67-yard drive with a 5-yard run to pay dirt.  The two-point conversion came up just inches short, a theme that would continue throughout the night, to make it 6-0 Maroon and Gold.


“Big Mo” (Momentum) looked to be sitting on the Monarchs bench after a Monte Vista interception brought Santana’s second drive to a sudden halt.  On the other end of a 75-yard drive it was McClendon punching it in from the seven.


But when the 2-point conversion failed again, just inches short, the Monarchs were up 12-0 just two plays into the second quarter.


On the ensuing drive, Santana got close with a couple of long passes.  The money shot was BOBBY WALLACE (21 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns rushing) scoring for the first of two times on the night from the one.  When the extra point sailed through the uprights, it was 12-7.



JAHMON MCCLENDON rushes for Monte Vista Friday night against Santana. / TRyan Photography

Monte Vista looked like it had an 18-7 lead with 45 seconds left in the first half.  The referees however threw a flag in the potential 67-yard touchdown run.  The flag was for, as one of the referees said, “excessive blocking.”  The referee continued the explanation with “the offensive player did not need to block the defensive player, as the defensive player would not have made the tackle.”  The drive would end up getting stalled at the Santana one, when the Sultans held on third and fourth downs from inside the five.


“I’m going to send the game to STEVE COOVER (former SDCFOA Instructional Chairman),” Hamamoto said, but the veteran coach would not comment any further. “Obviously, that call at the end of the half, coupled with the referees rescinding the call, plus the fact that they had the goal-line stand to end the half, was huge in the game.  But it is a high school game and you have to roll with the calls.”


The third quarter started with a very time consuming drive as Monte Vista would score with 4:42 remaining.  JOSE GONZALEZ (8 carries for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns) surprised the Sultan defense with a 21-yard scoring run.  The two-point conversion was short by a yard to make it 18-7 Monarchs.


After the kickoff that set the Sultan offense up at their own 35-yard line, the Purple and Gold scored on a 19-yard scoring strike to BROCK ELLIS (9 catches for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns).  The two-point pass was complete from Wallace to ANDERS TOLHURST (4 catches for 48 yards, a touchdown and a 2-point conversion) to pull Santana to within a field goal at 18-15.


“We knew we were going to be in a really tough game,” Tolhurst said. “We were prepared, but we didn’t expect to fall behind like that. We were able to make some big plays there in the end, on both sides.”


Then the crazy fourth quarter began.


Less than two minutes into the final stanza Santana scored on a Tolhurst 8-yard catch from junior JOSH OEDEWALDT (17-for-31 for 247 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions) put the Sultans in front for the first time in the game, 22-18, with over 10 minutes to go in the game.


“We picked up the intensity in the second half,” Oedewaldt said. “We were confident in what we were doing and we knew it would work out. I can’t say enough of how well the offensive line played tonight.”


Monte Vista got a great return by AMIR CONLEY out to the 36-yard line.  But a 15-yard facemask penalty by Santana moved the ball to the Santana 49.  On the first play of the drive, McClendon took it to the house to reclaim the lead for the Monarchs at 24-22 when the Sultans turned away the 2-point conversion.


Both teams would end up with three consecutive drives where they would exchange possessions.


With just 3:49 remaining on the game clock, Wallace would score his 25th touchdown of the season when he ran the final 34 yards of the field to put the Sultans back on top.  Santana would fail on the 2-point conversion by a couple of inches, putting the score at 28-24.



Santana stops a Monte Vista surge Friday night in Spring Valley. / TRyan Photography

“It’s just a matter of getting that push for a great back like Bobby,” said Santana senior lineman BRYCE MARTIN. “He’s come though for us all season like that.”



Monte Vista would take just two plays before Gonzalez would score his second touchdown of the night from 35 yards out.  McClendon did get a conversion to make it 32-28 with 3:27 left.


The deciding score came from the arm of Oedewaldt to Ellis from 14-yards out with just 69 seconds remaining.  The TIMMY TISCHER (3 extra points) PAT was good to put the Sultans up by three.


“It was crazy, I can’t even describe the finish,” Ellis said. “Shout out to McClendon, just a sophomore. That man is going somewhere.


“We knew we just needed the ball back, though. We knew we were going to score.”



The ensuing kickoff looked from the sideline to go out of bounds on the Santana side.  However, the officials showed by their actions that it was the Monarch that was returning the ball stepped out of bounds at the 14.  The Monarchs would end up turning the ball over on downs as the Sultan defense didn’t allow them more than three yards on the drive.



The Santana Sultans following their win over Monte Vista in the San Diego CIF Division 4 semifinals in Spring Valley Friday night. / TRyan Photography

Santana will face the fifth-seed La Jolla Country Day in the finals, as the Torreys upended the top-seeded Southwest El Centro Eagles, 21-14 in La Jolla in the semifinals.


LJCD is known for quite the prolific offense, as well, so there should be no shortage of scoring in the championship game.


“This offense is so much, fun, it speeds up the game,” Santana center TRENT FORSTER said. “We get our calls, we get ready on the line and it gets the defense tired. I knew that Josh would be a great quarterback in this type of system, it was just a matter of time. We’ve meshed so well with him as an offensive line. We can’t wait for next week.”


Kickoff time for the finals is set for Friday (Dec. 2) at 3 p.m. at Southwestern College’s DeVore Stadium.  Due to the seeding, Santana will be the home team.

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