Line paves South Whidbey as Turks roll 49-8
By KEVIN BREIWICK
SULTAN — Four different running backs scored for Sultan Friday night.
Of course, that was just by the end of the first quarter.
Touchdowns by Gavin Galle, Erik Solberg, Travis Brown and Tim Benjamin in the opening period got the Turks well on their way to a 49-8 victory over South Whidbey.
Sultan’s running backs were aided by an offensive line that Sultan coach Jim MacDicken called "incredible."
"The line has done everything I have asked them to (this season)," MacDicken said.
Thanks to that line, Sultan’s backs combined for 418 yards Friday night.
With the victory, Sultan secured the third and final North Cascades Class 2A playoff berth. The Turks now will sweep southwest and end up at either Silverdale Stadium or Curtis High School in Tacoma for a 7 p.m. Tuesday game against the winner of the Nisqually League tiebreaker.
The Turks wasted no time Friday against South Whidbey, jumping on top during their first possesion.
Sultan moved effortlessly to South Whidbey’s 2-yard line and from there Galle plunged into the end zone with eight minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Falcons answered immediately.
Aaron McCabe took Sultan’s kickoff, bounced off a pack of tacklers and found his way to the left sideline, where he rambled 78 yards for a touchdown.
An impressive run by the Falcons, and the kind of play MacDicken feared from South Whidbey’s special teams going into the game.
"Of all the teams we have watched, we felt South Whidbey had the best kickoff return," MacDicken said.
The Turks countered with impressive special teams’ play of their own. Two consecutive onsides kicks by Sultan set up touchdowns — a 4-yard run by Brown and a 20-yard run by Benjamin.
"We didn’t want to give them the ball back (after the kickoff return for a score)," MacDicken said. "We’ve practiced this (onside kick) 40 times a week and never used it until now."
Sultan ended the first quarter looking as if the game was already over, leading 30-8.
Solberg added another touchdown in the second quarter to give Sultan a comfortable 36-8 hafltime lead.
The Turks gained 278 yards of total offense in the first half. Equally impressive was the Sultan defense which limited the Falcons to 44 yards.
Solberg led Sultan with 103 yards on 13 carries while Benjamin added 93 yards on 10 carries in the half.
By contrast, the third quarter looked like a totally different game. Neither team mustered much offense, instead trading punts back and forth. The Turks even failed to capitalize on an interception by Solberg.
But Sultan’s offense rejuvenated in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter as Benajmin scored on 6-yard run, putting the Turks up 42-8.
Brown added another touchdown with 1:50 remaining in the fourth quarter on a 25-yard run.
Solberg and Benjamin each finished with two touchdowns. Solberg finished with 135 yards on 18 carries.
Sultan—Galle 2 run (Solberg run)
South Whidbey—McCabe 78 kickoff return (Shelton pass from Peterson)
Sultan—Solberg 3 run (Solberg run)
Sultan—Brown 4 run(Brown run)
Sultan—Solberg 20 run (pass failed)
Sultan—Benjamin 6 run (run failed)
Sultan—Brown 25 run (Galle kick)
Records—Sultan 5-3 in league, 5-4 overall. South Whidbey 2-6, 2-7.
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