East County Sports

Sultans rock Komets with new, old look

Kayvion Jones carries for Santana on Friday night. / photo by Steve Brase




By Jim Lindgren  


SAN DIEGO – What is it with Santana and Serra? Seems like every time the two are mentioned in the same breath, something strange succeeds.

Now, Santana crushed Kearny 49-16 on Friday night in both teams’ season opener in Kearny Mesa, and newcomer Kayvion Jones rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns. So, what does that have to do with Serra?

In this delayed and abbreviated spring season, the Sultans were not scheduled to have a game until this Friday. Until Serra was forced to cancel its game with Kearny on account of positive COVID-19 test results within the Serra program.

Kearny went looking for an opponent, and Santana coach Tim Estes answered the call. They finalized the revamp start just last Sunday.

So, Santana was finally going to get to play a real game for the first time since losing their first-ever San Diego Section championship game on Nov. 29, 2019, to … you guessed it, Serra.

The Conquistadors prevailed 37-7 in that Division IV title game and haven’t played since winning their first section banner. A couple of weeks ago, they even changed their name. So next year, the Serra Conquistadors will be the Canyon Hills Rattlesnakes … or Rattlers instead of Q’s.

It should be noted that earlier in 2019, Santana defeated Serra 31-14 in a game that Q’s QB Timmy Zebroski dislocated his shoulder and missed two games. He came back to scorch the Sultans with 136 passing yards and 95 rushing yards with TD runs of 15, 28, and 12 yards in the title game.

In the 2018 season, Santana’s Nathan Temple broke his left collarbone in the first half against Serra but stayed in the game and threw a fourth-quarter TD to beat the Q’s 24-22. He missed the next seven games but came back to lead Santana to the Division IV semifinals. The eventual champ San Diego knocked off Santana.

But Temple came back in 2019 and guided the Sultans (11-2) to a No. 1 seed in the playoffs, throwing for 2,483 yards and 34 TDs (only 6 interceptions). He tossed for 224 yards in the championship but was sacked a title-game record 10 times by Serra.

Enter little brother … Drew Temple. As a sophomore, Drew gained some valuable experience filling in for Nathan at QB. Drew entered his senior year on Friday with nearly 500 passing yards and 2 TDs while also playing receiver and defense.

Against Kearny, Drew Temple completed 11 of 20 passes for 181 and a touchdown to Jared Forster, who caught 9 passes for 142 yards. Temple also scrambled for 28 rushing yards, and Forster had an interception and four tackles to assist a defense that allowed only 8 points until late in the game.

Michael Richter rushed seven times for 118 yards and two touchdowns, plus he posted five tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery.

“Being back on the field was great, ” Richter said. “It was a long-awaited goal that we were all waiting for.

“We were able to experiment a little bit and try some new things that we found worked, making our defense stronger. I wasn’t able to get after the quarterback as much because after I rocked him early in the game, they targeted the tackle at me so much that our end ran right past his face for a sack as he was trying to get after me.

“He had to hold me every time to slow me.”

“We definitely have some highly-skilled players and putting up the numbers we did reminds me of last (season’s) team.

Santana’s linescore went 7-14-14-14 for 49 points. The Sultans piled up 485 total yards, and it could have been more. Substitutions were the norm in the second half.

Jones, a Crawford transfer in 2019, was impressive in many phases. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior played sparingly for the Sultans last year with 117 yards and a touchdown. In a starting debut Friday, Jones had 162 rushing yards and three touchdowns and also posted three tackles and two fumble recoveries – one on defense and one on a kick return.

David Friedman added five tackles for the Sultans. Andrew Petersen had an interception to go with three tackles, and Isac Sanchez a sack.

“It was a fun start,” Santana coach Tim Estes said. “The kids played hard. They were having fun. We finally got to play and have fun.

“We kept it pretty simple but had fun. It was great to get back out there.”

Santana plays host to El Capitan (0-2) next Friday in Santee.



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