Story by Brady Nakamura
Photo by Jayden Eden
The football team emerged triumphant over the Mountain View Vikings in its first preseason match with a score of 53-13 Friday, Aug. 23. The Tigers controlled almost every aspect of the game, led by senior Ivan Estrada’s 208 all purpose yards and two touchdowns.
The Tiger offense struggled early in their first series, dropping easy passes. A solid ground game helped the team settle its early jitters and Estrada scored three minutes into the match. However, the Vikings quickly responded with a breakaway touchdown, tying the game at 7-7. The following drive, senior quarterback Samuel Luna-Long connected with junior receiver Terrence Sweetman in the Viking end zone, energizing the team. With momentum on their side, the Tigers’ aggressive defensive line forced Mountain View into numerous three and outs, allowing the offense to take control of the game.
South Pas began the second quarter with a series of defensive highlights. Refreshed after the quarter break, the team sacked the Mountain View quarterback for a 15 yard loss and denied a weak fourth down conversion attempt. Offensively, senior fullback Quentin Pithey ran into the end zone and Luna-Long picked apart the Viking zone coverage, launching a deep ball to junior receiver Jonathan Stride for a touchdown. In the next series, Luna-Long pitched the ball to sophomore Grant Huntley, who darted 40 yards to cross the goal line.
Midway through the second quarter, Luna-Long stepped off the field with a minor groin injury and Huntley stepped in under center without missing a beat. Huntley scrambled away from Viking pass rush and threw an accurate 25 yard touchdown pass to a wide open Sweetman, giving the Tigers a 34-7 lead heading into halftime.
After the break, the South Pas special teams unit dominated the third quarter. Mountain View easily drove down the field, scoring a rushing touchdown, but the Tigers blocked extra point attempt. The next play, Estrada electrified the crowd with a lightning-quick kickoff return, bolting past sluggish defenders and into the Vikings end zone. To cap off an eventful third quarter, Sweetman returned a punt for 60 yards, squirming around multiple players for the touchdown and putting the score at 53-13.
In the final quarter, Coach Jeff Chi was satisfied with the score and began subbing in third-string players to grant the tired Tigers a well deserved rest. However, South Pas still dominated, shutting out the Viking offense for the rest of the game.
“We tried to take advantage of those matchups with the receivers and the backers and it worked out for us,” Chi said. “After that, it opened up our running game and our backs were getting huge yardage.”
The Tigers will look to maintain their early success in their next preseason matchup against Viewpoint at home on Friday, Aug. 30.