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Wheatland Sun

Huskies win Homecoming thriller in overtime over Center

Oct 08, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Steven Bryla

Sutter senior running back Luke Miller breaks away down the left sideline during a 23-20 win against Center on Friday, October 7 in Sutter.

Huskies win Homecoming thriller in overtime over Center [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

Victory sets up big match-up with Twelve Bridges

SUTTER, CA (MPG) - The No. 16 Sutter Huskies football team stayed unbeaten on the season after they adjusted and gritted their way to a victory that took extra time over the Center Cougars 23-20 on Friday night.

Sutter (8-0, 4-0 Pioneer Valley League) experienced a lot of firsts Friday, which included multiple fumbles in a game, and they trailed for the first time this season.

The Huskies turned the ball over on their first two possessions of the game when junior quarterback Jagger Beck threw an interception and senior running back Robbie Faupula fumbled.

Faupula had the ball stripped from his hands and Center (4-3, 1-3 PVL) recovered the ball and returned it 25 yards to the endzone to take an early 7-0 lead. 

It was a defensive battle between both teams not giving any leverage to their opponent for the rest of the first quarter. That is, until Sutter senior linebacker Dylan Humes picked off Cougars junior quarterback Bradley Kenny at the Center 20-yard line and returned it for a touchdown. Humes was also named the Homecoming King.

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Sutter head coach Ryan Reynolds told the Territorial Dispatch that his defense kept them in the game throughout the entire night.

“They kept us in it, our offense struggled tonight,” Reynolds said.

The Huskies coach gave huge credit to his defensive coordinator Matt Schamanski and said he knows how to get the Sutter defensive players in the right positions based off their skill sets. He added that his team is known for not fumbling the ball and that it was uncharacteristic and something he will be working on throughout this week with his team.

The Huskies reclaimed the lead in the second quarter when senior running back Luke Miller scored on a four-yard rushing touchdown to put Sutter up 14-7 early in the second quarter.

Miller started the season as the quarterback, but due to injuries to the backfield, Reynolds told the Dispatch that there has been a lot of movement all around. Miller was the leading rusher in the game with 16 carries for 150 yards.

The Cougars quickly answered back to tie the game when senior running back Benny Tafoya had a three-yard rushing touchdown. With a minute to go in the first half following a Huskies timeout, Sutter had a great trick play that scored a touchdown but was called back due to a penalty.

The play consisted of Beck throwing to Miller on the left side and Miller threw downfield to open senior wide receiver Brayden Underwood for a 52-yard touchdown, but the penalty was thrown due to Underwood not checking in with the line judge, making himself an eligible receiver.

That would have been a huge momentum booster for the Huskies, but the game went into the locker room tied at 14.

To open the second half, Sutter senior linebacker Joseph Martinez blocked the Center punt which gave the Huskies great field position on the Cougars side of the field.

“We’ve been working on special teams punt block a lot and I had an open hole,” Martinez told the Dispatch.

He added that the game against Center reminded him of the same intensity from their CIF Northern Section championship game last year. Martinez, who currently leads the team with 79 total tackles on the season, contributed 16 tackles.

Sutter sophomore kicker Josiah Thompson gave the Huskies a 17-14 lead when he converted a 31-yard field goal with 7:32 left in the third quarter.

Reynolds told the Dispatch he saw Thompson kick as a freshman last year and had to have him on varsity this year. It’s safe to say that decision paid off Friday night. Thompson added a 30-yard field goal with 9:23 left in the game to give Sutter a 20-14 lead.

Center tied the game when Kenny threw a six-yard touchdown pass to running back Elias Bonds with 6:24 to go in the game. The Cougars’ kicker missed the extra point try to give them the lead.

The Huskies marched down the field until Miller fumbled in Center territory where the Cougars recovered the ball on their own 22 with just under four minutes to go in the game. After trading possessions with one another, the clock hit triple zeroes and the game went into overtime. Center won the coin toss and began with the ball.

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The Cougars started on the Sutter 25-yard line and quickly got a first down. However, Huskies junior linebacker Jeevan Chatha intercepted the ball on the two-yard line which gave the Sutter offense an opportunity to kick a field goal and win the game. 

Miller fumbled again for Sutter after he reached the first down marker. The Huskies recovered the ball and after a couple run plays, Reynolds brought Thompson in to kick the winning field goal. The Sutter coach told the Dispatch that he had major confidence in Thompson’s ability to close out Center.

Thompson nailed the 22-yard field goal attempt to win the game and keep the Huskies perfect on the season as the team rushed onto the field in excitement.

“I walked up there, kept a clear mind and did what I’ve been training on all season,” Thompson told the Dispatch.

The win sets up a big match up with the Twelve Bridges Raging Rhinos this Friday night. The Rhinos are 3-0 in the PVL and in this is their first year competing at the varsity level in football.