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Sultana takes Homecoming win from Aztecs
HESPERIA • For the second straight week, the Sultana football team needed a fourth-quarter comeback to fight off a surprisingly tough nonleague opponent.
And for the second straight week, the Sultans got what they needed.
Stephan Sanford turned a screen pass into a game-winning 66-yard touchdown reception with less than three minutes remaining and Sultana snuck by Barstow, 30-24, on homecoming night at Jay Reed Field.
Last week, Sultana scored 14 points in the fourth quarter for a comeback victory over Victor Valley.
The fireworks flew from the stands at halftime, and they flew in the game’s final 15 minutes as well.
The Sultans had a 17-10 halftime lead, but the Aztecs tied it up late in the third quarter on a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tracy Venable to wide receiver Ahmon Jones, the team’s first touchdown pass of the year.
It was a back-and-forth game from there during a tense final quarter. Robbins busted out a 30-yard run and followed that with a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Sultans the lead, but the Aztecs tied it back up with just under three minutes remaining on a 4-yard touchdown run by James Noble. The scoring drive was helped by two personal foul penalties on Sultana, and the Aztecs converted a third-and-19 on the drive, as well.
Three plays after Noble’s tying score, Robbins fired a screen pass to his right, where Sanford was waiting. The speedy junior cut back into the middle of the field, found a seam, and ran nearly untouched to the end zone for what turned out to be the final score.
The Aztecs had one more drive in them and got to the Sultana 44-yard line, but Chris Gooding picked off a Venable pass on third down and the Sultans then ran out the clock.
Neither team scored in the opening quarter, but it got a bit crazy from there. There were five lead changes and three tie scores over the last three quarters.
Barstow was left wondering what might have been. The Aztecs missed a field goal early and also had a long touchdown pass nullified when they were penalized for having an ineligible receiver downfield.
Venable and Noble were the driving forces behind the Aztecs upset bid. Noble amassed 189 yards rushing and receiving with a touchdown, while Venable rushed for 75 yards and a score and passed for 68 yards and another TD.
Robbins passed for 113 yards, ran for 64, and had four touchdowns — two through the air and two on the ground. Salvador Garcia ran for 178 yards, while Gooding had a touchdown catch and a pick.