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Aztecs football downs Sultans
BARSTOW • After two losses, Barstow football put one in the win column.
The Aztecs hosted Sultana for their final non-leaguer of the season on Friday, and beat the Sultans, 34-22, at Barstow High School.
“A much-needed win, this was one we really needed,” said Aztecs head coach Ray Silva. “We still had a couple of turnovers, but we’ve been working on that, and we really started to fix it tonight.”
It was a back-and-forth match, with the momentum changing hands. It was another strong night for Oshua Rothwell, who scored the game’s first touchdown, and staked Barstow to a 7-0 first-quarter lead. Brandon Pierce scored in the second, but the Aztecs were behind, 15-14, at halftime.
The last 24 minutes have seen a dropoff in production by the Aztecs this season, which has been a concern for the coach. In addition to cutting down on turnovers, another aspect of the game Silva wanted to see his team improve on this week was sustaining its level of play in the second half.
“Our big focus in practice this week was winning the second half,” he said. “We’ve had a tendency to lighten up in the third quarter, but tonight we took control.”
It looked like there might be another energy shortage in the third, as the Sultans scored halfway through to make it 22-14. At that point, however, Sultana was done scoring.
Barstow had tightened it up by the end of the quarter. With 2:09 left, Rothwell ran back a 60-yard punt return, leaving the Sultans ahead by two going into the fourth.
The final quarter was all Aztecs. Less than a minute in, Lario Welch scored for the home team, and Rothwell put the capper on the game, scoring on a 5-yard run with just over seven minutes left for his third TD of the night.
Rothwell finished with 166 yards rushing, while Pierce had 18 yards, and Brandon McHenry 95 yards.
There were certain parts of the game plan that had to be tweaked this week. Quarterback Jordan Londo pulled a muscle in last week’s game and was iffy for this Friday. Coach Silva played it by ear.
“It was a gametime decision. Londo still isn’t 100 percent, so I used him sparingly tonight,” he said. “This is the type of injury you have to rest, so I didn’t want to rush him back.”
Londo was used sparingly at QB and played some defense. Taking over the quarterback duties was sophomore McHenry.
“McHenry was ready just in case, and it paid off,” said Silva. “He did a great job. I’m very happy with how he played.
“Oshua had a great game too, he ran the ball hard. We were very physical tonight. We played hard and we’re maturing, making good decisions.”
And just in time. Next week starts the Desert Sky League schedule, and Barstow has another home game, welcoming Burroughs to town.
“We’ll have to be ready for that,” said Silva. “Now it counts.”