East County Sports

Sultans secure 7th win, home game

El Cajon Valley's Shane Hopson (18) goes for the ball against Santana. / P.J. Panebianco




EastCountySports.com staff report


EL CAJON – The El Cajon Valley Braves gave the Santana Sultans a first half worth of trouble before the visitors pulled away for a 36-12 victory at Priest Field on Friday night.


On the third play from scrimmage, the Sultans scored on a 35-yard interception return by senior David Friedman just 1:32 into the contest.


However, Kal-el Gordon had a 73-yard run on the Braves’ first play of their second possession of the game, as the teams had two touchdowns on the board before two minutes had been played.


Santana sophomore Linden Benson scored a touchdown on a 2nd-and-goal carry from the 1, however, senior Ruben Cosio blocked the point-after try leaving the score at 13-6 in favor of Santana.


Benson then ran in another one, this time on a fourth-and-goal play from the 5 to make it 20-6.


El Cajon Valley got right back in with quarterback Daniel Jacobs passing to Shane Hopson for a 22-yard touchdown on a beautiful one-handed catch and the Braves trailed just 20-12 at halftime.


The score was set up by an interception by Cosio.


Santana’s Benson scored his third touchdown of the game on the team’s opening drive of the second half for a 15-point lead when he added his second 5-yard TD of the game.


Benson and teammate Brayden Breshears combined to rush for 129 yards.


Shane Hopson had an interception in the second half for the Braves.


The Sultans recorded a safety to extend the lead to 29-12.


Santana’s Dylan Anderson, Friedman, and Jason Gonzalez each had an interception in the second half.


Friedman returned his second interception of the game 52 yards, while Gonzalez had a 49-yard return on his pick.


Santana forced six total turnovers on the evening.


Benson added a 1-yard score for his fourth touchdown of the evening.


“We did make too many mental mistakes early,” said Santana head coach Tim Estes, who recorded at least a seven-win season for the fifth time in his 10 seasons in charge of the Sultans. “But our defense, as a group, played well and all of our guys stepped up, including Logan Ellis and Isaiah Lloyd.”


Santana (7-2, 3-2 GVL) earned the No. 8 seed in the Division III playoffs and will host familiar IV foe Imperial (6-4), the No. 9 seed, on Friday.


The Sultan head coach said the team may continue to go with late-season JV call-up Alex Rico against the Tigers at quarterback or use utility man Ethan Wright, who was plugged in early in the season after the starting signal-caller was lost for the season due to injury.


Tenth-seeded El Cajon Valley (2-8, 1-5 GVL) earned a playoff berth in Division V and will travel to face seventh-seeded Army and Navy Academy (6-4) on Friday.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *