East County Sports

Sultans take Cup with win over Wolf Pack


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SANTEE — Santana High junior running back Linden Benson carried the ball 41 times for 195 yards and scored the game’s only touchdown with 3:27 left in the third quarter to lift the host Sultans to a 10-3 Grossmont Valley League victory over West Hills.

The Sultans’ victory over the defending league champions brought the Mayor’s Cup back to Santana for the first time in three years and gives Santana a foot in the door to share the league title depending on what happens next week on the final night of the season.

“I wanted (the ball) every single play,” Benson said. “I was super-excited that we were going to run the ball a lot.

“Winning this game and beating West Hills was an insane accomplishment for this team. I’m glad that we brought it home for this school and did it as a team.”

Santana linemen Anthony Jenkins, Jack Endicott, Josh Bowen, Ayden Dolan, and Gavin Clark helped keep the ball away from the Wolf Pack for most of the night and kept the Sultans moving the chains methodically throughout the contest.

“This win meant everything,” Endicott said. “We want to win the league and we want to make the playoffs.”

Credit Santana’s defense which kept the Wolf Pack out of the end zone, and quite frankly, on their own side of the field most of the night.

The Wolf Pack could only manage 95 yards of total offense against the Santana defense.

Santana junior Isaiah Lloyd had an interception on the second play of the second half, while senior teammate Skylar Trahan had a sack on the game’s final series that sealed the win.

Tyler Sutton, Logan Ellis, and Landen Bailey also contributed to the huge defensive effort for the Sultans.

Wolf Pack senior Tyler Haley finally put up the game’s first points with 32 seconds left in the first quarter when he booted a 26-yard field goal.

The scoring drive was aided by a 31-yard completion from junior Collin Dill to junior Nate Stevens on the first play of the drive to take the ball out to midfield.

Dill later scrambled 22 yards on a 3rd-and-3 play to get down to the 19 but fired three straight incompletions as the Pack settled for the three points.

After a short West Hills punt that had to be rushed giving Santana possession at the West Hills 30, the Sultans were able to score with 40 seconds left in the first half on a 25-yard field goal by senior Jackson Scott, knotting the score at 3-all just before halftime.

Santana capitalized on another short field for a 35-yard drive that resulted in Benson’s touchdown from 2 yards out.

The score relieved the frustration for the Sultans, who were stuffed by the Wolf Pack on a goal-line stand in the second quarter, and came up empty on another pair of red zone trips, missing one field goal and having another attempt blocked.

Santana started quarterback Jayden Goldman, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound freshman. It was his second consecutive start for the Sultans, having guided the team to a 36-7 win over Monte Vista a week earlier.

Santana can now share the Grossmont Valley League championship should West Hills defeat El Capitan next week in Lakeside and the Sultans defeat serious upstart El Cajon Valley. The Vaqueros can win the title outright with a victory over the Wolf Pack.

The Sultans moved closer to clinching a Division III playoff berth, possibly even clinching a spot with the victory, although a game against the Braves looms large because of ECVHS’ placement in Division V.

West Hills is also likely to qualify for the Division III playoffs.


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