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Sultans rally past 'Rabbits
VICTORVILLE • Flags flew in from every direction at Ray Moore Stadium on Friday night.
Victor Valley couldn’t overcome more than 150 yards in penalties, and Sultana’s running game and short passing attack in the second half was too much to handle. The Sultans overcame a 14-point deficit at halftime to beat the Jackrabbits 27-20.
Sultana’s Andrew Robbins and Genia Roberts each scored two rushing touchdowns in the second half, and the Sultans scored on three long running plays to pick up their third straight win after dropping the season opener. Sultana overcame 105 yards in penalties, and even had a Robbins 83-yard run for a score called back due to an inadvertent whistle.
“I think we got them tired out in the second half,” Sultana head coach Blake Robbins said. “They were tired, and we figured out how to take advantage of a few things. They were loading the box. We threw the ball a little bit.”
Victor Valley had chances to put the game away earlier, but penalties slowed them down. The Jackrabbits scored on their first two drives, but from there the offense sputtered with penalties after long drives.
“We’re not making our plays at crucial times,” Victor Valley head coach Leland Eudy said.
From the second quarter on, Victor Valley had five drives reach the red zone only to stall.
A Jackrabbits’ fumble on a punt in the third helped jumpstart the Sultans scoring.
“We really came out flat in the first half,” Andrew Robbins said. “You have to give all the credit to them. That’s a good football team. That’s not an 0-4 team.”
Following the fumble, Robbins ran it in from a yard out 11 plays later to pull Sultana within seven at 14-7 with 4:12 to play in the third quarter.
On Victor Valley’s next drive, it drove to the 16-yard line when quarterback Eric Turner’s pass to Phillip Baladez was dropped near the end zone. Baladez immediately threw off his helmet drawing a personal foul for 15 yards, and the Jackrabbits were called for holding in addition to that. Eventually, they punted.
On Sultana’s next drive, they drove 80 yards and scored on a 27-yard run by Roberts to tie the game with 9:21 to play.
Victor Valley reached Sultana’s 15 on the next drive, but Turner then threw three straight incompletions, and kicker Enrique Zavala missed a 32-yard field goal.
A penalty and two running plays moved Sultana to the Victor Valley 41 when Robbins busted up the middle for a 41-yard scoring run on a counter play to put the Sultans up 21-14 with 6:25 to play.
“There’s three different options we can do on that play,” Andrew Robbins said. “I just saw everybody fly to the counter. I thought it was time to pull it.”
Victor Valley came within one when Turner capped the next drive with a 1-yard run. Instead of kicking the extra point for the tie, the ’Rabbits called timeout and went for the 2-point conversion, but Turner’s pass went out of the end zone.
Blake Robbins said the teams had agreed not to go to overtime if the game ended with a tie.
Sultana finished off the scoring with 59 seconds to play when Roberts ran it in from 32 yards out.
Victor Valley though charged down the field, and Turner completed a pass to Davondre Jackson to the about the 5-yard line, but a holding call moved the ball back.
The Jackrabbits completed one final passing play, but it came up well short of the end zone.
“We’re on the cusp,” Eudy said.
Andrew Robbins finished the game with 112 yards on 14 of 22 passing and added 79 rushing yards. Roberts finished with 105 rushing yards, and Chris Gooding caught seven passes for 66 yards.
For Victor Valley, Turner completed 15 of 29 passes for 222 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Josh Woods ran for 127 yards on 22 attempts, and was on the receiving end of an option touchdown pass on the Jackrabbits first offensive play.
Sultana 0 0 7 20 — 27
V. Valley 14 0 0 6 — 20
V — Woods 55 pass from Walker (Zavala kick)
V — Baladez 2 pass from Turner (Zavala kick)
S — Robbins 1 run (Perez kick)
S — Roberts 27 run (Perez kick)
S — Robbins 41 run (Perez kick)
V — Turner 1 run (pass failed)
S — Roberts 32 run (kick failed)
C.J. Daft can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (760) 951-6275.