On a night featuring two unbeaten teams, the Pebble Hills Spartans took another positive step forward defeating the No. 2 Chapin Huskies 31-14 at Tony Shaw Field.
Chapin’s senior quarterback, Anthony Baird, who was expected to continue his stellar performance; leading his team in both rushing yards and passing yards, which were on average 93 yards more than Pebble Hills, was shut down.
The Spartan defense defied the statistics, holding the Huskies offense to zero points the entire first and fourth quarter.
The Spartans started the game off strong, gaining yards on every play of their first offensive drive. Orlando Puig came in clutch late in the drive, completing an 11-yard pass on a fourth down conversion to his favorite target of the season, Haredt Gonzalez, who helped put the team in the red zone.
The Spartans struck first via a 5-yard run by junior running back Caleb Gerber.
The defense for the Spartans showed their dominance early by forcing the Huskies to turn the ball over twice, and not allowing the Huskies to put points on the board.
Senior Juan Santiago made a big play on fourth down when he sacked Baird; causing a turnover on downs. The momentum was in favor of the road team, and they looked to capitalize early.
The Spartans continued to maintain control of the game, scoring a 9-yard field goal on their first offensive drive of the second quarter, making it 10-0.
The Huskies defense made their first statement of the game when they intercepted the ball during the second quarter. They would capitalize soon after by completing a 15-yard touchdown pass on the first play after the interception, bringing the score to 10-7.
After a series of questionable calls and penalties that were called on the Spartan defense, senior Kevin Esquivel turned the tide.
Esquivel recovered a fumble on the 20-yard line in Spartan territory and ran it all way back to the house, bringing the score to 17-7.
“It put us further up in the score and made us want to push harder,” Esquivel said.
The crowd went wild and coach Cortez even mentioned that the Huskies messed with the wrong team.
But the momentum didn’t stop there, as corner Jailyn Spires made an impressive interception on the Huskies first offensive play after the fumble late in the first half.
“It gave everybody a lot of energy,” Spires said. “We have been working too hard for this. We came in thinking we were going to win, but keep it humble and let them do the talking.”
The Spartans kept the ball rolling in the second half, forcing the Huskies to punt on the first offensive drive of the half. Puig then connected with Justin Wolfe via a 9-yard touchdown pass, making it 24-7.
The Huskies were able to score soon after on a 25 yard touchdown pass, making it a two possession game at 24-14.
However, the Huskies defense was not capable of stopping the motivated Spartans, allowing Christopher Beanes to score a 2-yard touchdown, making it 31-14. The Spartans then added a cherry on top of t when they recovered an onside kick, allowing them to run down the clock and defeat the Huskies, 31-14.
The Spartans (3-0) are on a hot streak and want to continue to improve on both sides of the ball as they enter their bye week. That extra week of preparation comes ahead of a showdown with the Franklin Cougars to the SISD Student Activities Complex Sept. 29 at 4:00p. m.
By Matthew Thomas – Special to the Herald-Post