After last season’s 0-10 disaster, the second straight season that Sultana finished last in the Mojave River League, Sultans coach Zane Sweeney has had enough. The last two years have been brutal for the Sultans – who have lost their last 11 games, have lost all eight league games and have fallen twice to crosstown rival Hesperia during that time.
As Sweeney was evaluating what went wrong, he decided that Sultana had gotten a little too diversified and had lost the foundation that led it to an MRL title as recently as 2005. So when evaulating his team in the offseason, Sweeney decided that Sultana needed to pull things back a bit.
“We need to get back to what made us good in the first place,” Sweeney said. “We are going back to the old stuff, the stuff that worked for us. You’ll see us run a lot of zone blocking on offense and run the 4-3 on defense.”
Both units could use a great deal of improvement. The Sultans, as you would expect, were overmatched a year ago, as they were outscored by an average of 29.3 points per game. Sultana, which gave up 38.6 points per game on defense while only scoring 9.3 points per game offensively, lost every game but one by double digits.
“Last year was a nightmare, just embarrassing,” Sweeney said. “There was nothing good about what happened last year and we are dedicated to going out and putting out a better effort. We have to get better.”
It might be too much for Sultana to get a playoff spot – or emerge from last place for that matter – but there is some talent for the Sultans to work with. Offensively, 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior tight end Brandon Lindeman should be a bear to deal with, while senior Malcolm Collier and junior Joe Maynes will anchor the running game. Lindeman will also play defensive end, while Zach Mendoza will be the main cog in the linebacking corps.
Sultana’s schedule (Home games in CAPS, league games with *)
Sept. 11 – at Palm Desert
Sept. 18 – CAJON
Sept. 25 – at Palmdale Knight
Oct. 2 – VICTOR VALLEY
Oct. 8 – vs. Summit (Miller HS)
Oct. 16 – at Hesperia*
Oct. 23 – RIM OF THE WORLD*
Oct. 30 – BARSTOW
Nov. 6 – APPLE VALLEY*
Nov. 13 – at Serrano*