East County Sports

Sultans’ win over Serra eerily similar




By Jim Lindgren

Special to EastCountySports.com


SAN DIEGO – A year ago – 371 days ago, to be precise – Santana quarterback Nathan Temple emerged from a 24-22 win against Serra with a broken collarbone that cost him the next seven games of his junior season.

Temple completed 16 of 27 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns that fateful night, but it wasn’t until afterward that he and the coaching staff learned the extent of his injury.

Fast forward to Friday night against the same Conquistadors: Temple completed 15 of 26 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns as Santana once again defeated Serra, this time by a more comfortable margin, 31-14, in Tierrasanta. And this time, Temple came away unscathed.

But afterward, Santana coach Tim Estes learned that Serra’s promising senior quarterback, Tim Zebroski, may have sustained a broken collarbone. His powerful right shoulder was wrapped in ice and his arm hung in a sling in the fourth quarter.

The third-year starter for the Q’s threw for nearly 4,000 yards in his first two seasons and had thrown a second-quarter touchdown against Santana on Friday to give Serra a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. Estes wasn’t aware of Zebroski’s injury until his backup came into the game in the fourth quarter.

Temple led the charge back as the Sultans scored the final 24 points to move to 2-0 on the season. Serra, which lost to Scripps Ranch in Week 1, fell to 0-2.

Randy Smith caught seven passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns from Temple. A year ago against the Q’s, Smith caught seven passes for 150 yards, including a 72-yard TD.

“They came out ready to play and smash-mouthed us early,” Estes said. “They were all over us. We started to wear them down in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter.”

A 29-yard field goal by Nate Hughes cut the Santana deficit to 14-10 before halftime. In the third quarter, Temple hit Smith on a 28-yard scoring pass to give Santana its first lead.

Brooks Moutaw, who gained 89 yards on 19 carries, made it 24-14 with a 5-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Junior Drew Temple, Nathan’s brother, completed the scoring with a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown.

“In the fourth quarter, we were starting to control the game, and it got a little more comfortable,” Estes said. “We were able to get a lot of guys in the game. That’s always nice.”

Cameron LaRiccia led the Sultans’ defense with nine tackles, while Dawud Saddler and Michael Richter each posted seven. Hughes also had a forced fumble as did Donnie Kelly.

Jared Forster also played well on defense and caught three passes for 42 yards for the offense. Luke Simanek was another standout and blocked a PAT attempt.

“We had a lot of guys contribute on defense,” Estes said. “That was really nice to see how they stepped up and shut them out in the second half.”

Last year, Temple was able to return from his injury and threw for a school-record 532 yards and seven touchdowns in a section-record 76-55 win over La Jolla Country Day in the first round of the Division IV playoffs. Smith set school records with 13 catches for 335 yards.

The Sultans then beat Mar Vista, 23-6, in Imperial Beach to avenge an earlier loss to the Mariners at home. Santana lost to San Diego, 41-20, in the semifinals. Serra lost to Kearny, 49-20, in the other semifinal. San Diego beat Kearny in the section final en route to winning a state division championship.

Santana will face Mar Vista again next Friday in the Sultans’ first home game of the season.

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