East County Sports

Sultans simplify to handle Monarchs

Santana's Ethan Wright looks downfield on Friday night. / Ken Todd




EastCountySports.com staff report


SANTEE – The Santana Sultans and Monte Vista Monarchs matched simple game plans in their Grossmont Valley League contest on Friday night.

After one half, the run-dominated contest was tied, 7-all.

But the Sultans’ Luke Nash, a junior who has been hobbled by injuries this season, scored a rushing touchdown and scored a touchdown on a fumble return in the third quarter which proved to be the difference in an important 20-6 GVL victory.

Santana (6-1, 2-1 GVL) kept its hopes of a realistic share of the title afloat by simplifying the offense.

Four Sultan backs, including quarterback Ethan Wright, combined for 130 yards on the ground and Wright completed six passes, all to senior Dylan Anderson, for 95 yards.

“We still struggled a little bit offensively,” Santana head coach Tim Estes said. “I never take Monte Vista’s teams for granted. They might not have enough depth at each position but they know how to tackle, they know how to compete.”

Aiden Robey scored on a 22-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to finally get one of the teams on the board.

The touchdown by the underdog Monarchs had to give Santana cause for concern.

However, Wright scored on a 7-yard run to tie the game.

“Monte Vista was a great team with some great athletes,” Sultan veteran offensive lineman Jaxen Dolan said. “I had a blast playing defensive line, too. I was filling my gap and made a big hit on one of their big-time players.”

The Sultans have had quarterbacks knocked from the game multiple times this season, forcing Dolan and the Sultans to adjust on the fly, or rather, on the ground.

“We have a young offensive line that is going to be great in the upcoming years,” Dolan said. “I knew I had to step up and be a leader with this group. I try to teach them as much as I can so that we can be dominant.”

Monte Vista (0-3 GVL) is 0-7 for the first time since 1964.

Santana will get a chance to refocus this week in preparation for its city championship game at undefeated West Hills in two weeks.

“It’s a huge game,” Santana’s Logan Jordan said. “They’ve had a very productive season and they aren’t to be taken lightly.

“But if we keep this mentality of doing whatever it takes to pull through, then I believe we have a fair shot and maybe more. Everyone needs to step up. It’s a team sport and we all need to be on the same page.”

In the spring, the Sultans were on a roll.

Undefeated and playing for a perfect 6-0 record and outright mythical league championship, the wounded Sultans stumbled on the blue turf in a 20-7 loss.

“With our rival game next, we have a lot on the line,” Dolan said. “We’ve dealt with a lot of adversity this season but as long as we play with a ‘we’ve got nothing to lose mindset, we’re going to do just fine.”

And don’t feel too sorry for Santana, just yet. The Sultans have still won 24 of their last 29 games dating back to the end of the 2018 season.

Plus, the Sultans are still currently ranked fourth in the official CIFSDS Division IV power rankings, ahead of undefeated West Hills, which is sixth, and El Capitan, which defeated Santana, 35-0, basically losing no ground.

A sweep of their final two games could give the Sultans an inside track to a first-round bye in the postseason.

Santana, which has a bye this week, still has a postponed game with Mount Miguel still to be contested, but the Grossmont Conference seems to be holding out hope that some miracle solution to play the missed contest can be worked out.


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