It was a fast decline for the Sultana football team, as the Sultans went from being the 2005 Mojave River League champions and a 2006 playoff qualifier to having the longest losing streak in the county. The streak, which dates back to Nov. 2, 2007, is something that coach Blake Robbins never saw coming.
“I really don’t know why it’s happened,” Robbins said. “I don’t know if it’s a combination of a down cycle in talent and tough schedules, but we never anticipated something like this happening. There’s no question that we want to get a few wins and be back on the way up.”
That task is left for Robbins, who takes over for Zane Sweeney after serving as an assistant at Sultana for several years. Robbins’ familiarity with the program has allowed for a smooth transition and has even allowed for him to throw in a few schematic changes for the Sultans.
“I want to cater more to our strengths and personnel,” Robbins said. “We want to play smashmouth, hardnosed physical football and we think we have the guys necessary to do that. You’ll see a lot more two-back sets from us than you’ve seen over the past few years.”
Robbins is going to rely on smashmouth football because the Sultans return a lot of size and experience in the offensive line. Leading the way is junior center Charles Mouton, who runs a 4.8 40-yard dash despite his 6-1, 280-pound size. Senior tackle Eric Johnson (6-2, 300) and junior guard Luis Huerta (6-0, 210) return as does senior Brandon Lindeman (6-4, 210), who alternated between tight end and tackle last year.
Sultana also returns its starting quarterback in senior Brandon Rios (5-8, 160) and its leading rusher in senior Joe Maynes (5-11, 180). Waterbug wide receiver Joe Vega (5-6, 135) boasts big-play ability while Clifford Maxwell (6-2, 220) adds pass-catching ability at tight end.
Defensively, Sultana is big on senior newcomer Terrance Lange (6-1, 230) – who transferred from Fontana High – and junior middle linebacker Jeremiah Pele (5-10, 215). Devin Myrick will also get time at LB, while Rios, Maynes and Vega will play in the secondary at free safety, strong safety and corner, respectively.
Sultana 2010 schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 10 – SAN BERNARDINO
Sept. 17 – at Yucca Valley
Sept. 24 – at Pacific
Oct. 1 – at Victor Valley
Oct. 8 – BARSTOW
Oct. 15 – OAK HILLS*
Oct. 22 – at Serrano*
Oct. 29 – HESPERIA*
Nov. 5 – at Apple Valley*
Nov. 12 – GRANITE HILLS