The 5A 1, Salpointe Lancers traveled north to take on the 5A 2 Sunrise Mountain Mustangs. It looked like it was going to be a long night as the favored Lancers put together a quick five play, 80 yard drive. RB Levess Eafon got the action going with a 44 yard run on the first play from scrimmage followed two plays later by a 20 yard gain. QB Max Fritz would push in from one yard out to give the Chargers a 7-0 lead.
The Mustangs put together a nice long drive on their offensive possession. Behind the running of Cole Ptacek and Terrin Flemons, the Mustangs were able to march down the field but it ended with a missed 14 yard field goal attempt. The Mustangs learned from their first drive and were able to capitalize on an athletic mismatch on their second. QB Ryan Moeler found his favorite receiver of the night, Tim Ellis who broke free for a 50 yard touchdown. PAT no good. Salpointe 7, Sunrise Mountain 6.
Sunrise Mountain's defense had a big stand and gave their offense good field position at the start of the second quarter. Six plays later Cole Ptacek found the end zone. The TD was set up on a big reception by TE Vinnie Dimichael. Two point try no good, Salpointe 7, Sunrise Mountain 12.
Salpointe answered back with a touchdown on a reverse play by Matt Ransom. PAT good, Salpointe, 14, Sunrise Mountain. 12.
Sunrise was pinned deep on the ensuing kickoff and would have to punt. Salpointe fumbled and Blake Ortiz was there for the Mustangs to recover. This gave momentum to the Mustangs. Ryan Moeler hit Curt Sweeney for a 25 yard touchdown pass. Two point try no good. Sunrise went into the half with an 18-14 lead.
The second half started with the Mustangs carrying momentum from the first half. They put together a 16 play drive that ended when QB Ryan Moeller squeezed in from one yard out. PAT good, Salpointe 14, Sunrise Mountain. 25. But then the Lancers got over their bus lag and came alive. On the ensuing kickoff, Levess Eafon took the squib kick from his 18 and didn't stop running till he reached the end zone. This run brought the Salpointe team to life and sparked 32 unanswered points. Two point try good, Salpointe 22, Sunrise Mountain 25.
Sunrise Mountain tried to answer on the next possession. Moeler found Sweeney for a 53 yard reception. Moeler then scampered 43 yards for a TD only to have it called back for a holding penalty. To add insult to injury for the Mustangs, their punt attempt was blocked by Lancer Jacob Hauptman.
The Mustang D put up a good defense and the Chargers had to settle for a game tying field goal. Salpointe 25, Sunrise Mountain 25
On the next possession, Salpointe got pressure on Sunrise Mountains punt attempt again and tackled the punter for a big loss. With great field position, QB Max Fritz threw a 16 yard pass to Matt Ransom. PAT good, Salpointe 32 Sunrise Mountain 25.
The sudden turn of events did not mean that the Mustangs had no more fight in them. The kick off was a squib that appeared to be bouncing on it's way out of bounds. Before it could reach the ground Blake Ortiz grabbed the ball and took off running to the right. He then handed the ball off on a reverse to Curt Sweeney who had a wall of blockers and a head of steam. Sweeney was forced to zig all the way back across the field before finally being brought down at the six. The big moment burst on the first play from scrimmage when the Mustangs fumbled the ball and the Lancers recovered.
Starting on their own five, the next drive was all Nicholas Cole. He gained 90 of the 95 yards to the end zone. Most importantly, he carried it the final 20 for the touch down. PAT good, Salpointe 39, Sunrise Mountain 25. Salpointe then intercepted Moeller on the very first play of the next possession. This led to a quick touch down by Levess Eafon. Final Salpointe 46, Sunrise Mountain 25.
Game Balls: Curt Sweeney in the losing effort. He ran, he hit, he has a great kicking leg. Nicholas Cole for Salpointe. He was there on defense when his team needed him and got hard yards when the ball was in his hands.
Bottom Line: Sunrise Mountain played hard. Was it a case of 5A I over a 5A II? Do great teams make their own luck? Is it just a game with a funny shaped ball that can bounce in unforeseen directions? The Mustangs should not be taken lightly by anyone this season. They can run, they can pass, they can hit. Salpointe has great athletes in Eafon, Cole, Fritz and the unmentioned (until now) O-line. Defensively they need to shore things up and be ready to play when they get off the bus.