There’s no question that the return of senior running back Marty Sesma has ignited the Sweetwater Red Devils offense. Sesma, who missed the team’s first three games of the season, rushed for 251 yards and scored five touchdowns in a 46-7 non-league win at El Cajon Valley on Sept. 22 to help the Red Devils record their first win of the season.
Sesma was back in action Friday at Gail Devers Stadium in National City. He rushed for 204 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 30-20 non-league victory against the Serra Conquistadors.
The two touchdowns gave Sesma seven TDs in two games along with 455 rushing yards.
While the two touchdowns by Sesma – as well as two passing scores by quarterback Brandon Sweeney — were important to securing the win for the hosts, there appears to be much more to this awakening Sweetwater team.
Defense also played a significant part in Friday’s SuHi win.
The Devils (2-3) recorded two interceptions, made two fumble recoveries and stopped the Conquistadors on multiple fourth-down conversion attempts. Add to that list a break-up of a two-point conversion passing attempt.
“Defense came to play,” first-year Sweetwater head coach Bryan Wagner offered succinctly.
Defense set up the Devils’ opening two touchdowns in the game.
Rugene Williams intercepted a pass on Serra’s first offensive play of the game. With a short field to play with, Sweeney hit Raul Romero on a six-yard pass into the end zone for a quick 7-0 lead.
The hosts regained possession of the ball on Serra’s next series after a botched punt attempt on fourth down.
Sesma scored on a one-yard run to double the Sweetwater lead to 14-0.
Sesma then broke off a 55-yard scoring run on the first play of the second quarter to increase the SuHi advantage on the scoreboard to 20-0.
That only seemed to wake up the Conquistadors, who stopped making errors and began to play with more urgency.
Kieve Curry caught a short scoring pass from quarterback Timmy Zebroski to put Serra (2-3) on the scoreboard with 8:00 left in the second quarter.
Myles Bryant then scored on a 16-yard run to reduce the visitors’ deficit on the scoreboard to 20-14 with 3:54 to play in the first half.
The Devils turned the game’s momentum in the final 14 seconds of the first hale when Sweeney hit receiver Nico Salazar for a 26-yard touchdown to advance the score to 27-14.
Sweetwater generated three more points on a 21-yard field goal by Sergio Blancarte to take a commanding 30-14 lead with 4:00 remaining in the third quarter.
That would end the scoring in the game for the Devils, who had to rely on their defense to ultimately win the game.
Serra made the score 30-20 when Ty Dixon returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Zebroski’s two-point conversion pass into the end zone fell incomplete to stave off further damage on the scoreboard by the visitors.
The Conquistadors continued to challenge by moving the ball to the SuHi 24-yard line. However, the visitors fumbled the ball on the next play.
A sack by Jose Urrenda helped stop a Serra drive. An interception by Fabian Nunez with 2:08 left proved to be the final nail driven into the coffin.
Urrenda finished the game with three sacks, four tackles and a forced fumble.
“A win is a win,” Wagner underscored after the game. “We came out very fast but then took our foot off the pedal. We’re learning how to win. We did it with defense tonight.”
Wagner said Sesma remains a key component to the success of this year’s team. On several occasions, it took as many as four Conquistadors to finally bring down the diminutive running back.
“I think he’s every bit as good as we thought he’d be,” Wagner assessed of Sesma. “And his backup (Romero) isn’t bad, either.”
Sweetwater will be looking to claim its third win in a row when the Devils visit the home of the San Ysidro Cougars next Friday.
San Ysidro (3-3) suffered its third consecutive loss on Friday by dropping a hotly contested 17-14 non-league matchup to previously winless Francis Parker.
The Cougars have now lost three consecutive games after opening the season 3-0. San Ysidro overcame a 10-0 halftime deficit against the visiting Lancers to lead 14-10 entering the final quarter. But Francis Parker scored the only touchdown of the fourth quarter to post the comeback win.
Quarterback Ryan Sanborn rushed 14 times for 91 yards and scored one touchdown while Sam Camposeco rushed 17 times for 45 yards and scored the Lancers’ other touchdown. Sanborn also kicked a 40-yard field goal and tacked on both extra-point conversions.
Francis Parker (1-4) didn’t rack up a lot of offensive yards in the victory: 138 rushing yards and 64 passing yards.
However, the Lancer defense came up big with two sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries to stymie San Ysidro.
Andrew Molina and Jonathan Gordon each had picks while Noah Schneider and Camposeco each had fumble recoveries. Peter Bowden and Camposecso each recorded sacks.
Jeremiah Martinez scored on a 14-yard run to put the Cougars on the scoreboard; the hosts took the lead when quarterback Junior Bueno tossed a 22-yard scoring pass to Jazz Gill.
Prep Football Scoreboard
Friday, Sept. 29
Sweetwater 30, Serra 20
Eastlake 35, Chula Vista 0
Otay Ranch 21, Valhalla 7
Mar Vista 34, Santana 28
Southwest 27, Calexico 21
Montgomery 48, Calipatria 6
Hilltop 26, Escondido 23
Ocean View Christian Academy 38, St. Joseph Academy 6
Helix 65, Bonita Vista 0
Cathedral Catholic 28, Olympian 3
Oceanside 35, Mater Dei Catholic 17
Francis Parker 17, San Ysidro 14
San Pasqual 39, Castle Park 0
Wednesday, Oct. 4
San Diego Jewish Academy 45, Victory Christian Academy 20
Friday, Oct. 6
Eastlake at Otay Ranch, 7 p.m.
Bonita Vista at Olympian, 7 p.m.
Mater Dei Catholic at Castle Park, 7 p.m.
Sweetwater at San Ysidro, 7 p.m.
Chula Vista at El Cajon Valley, 7 p.m.
San Pasqual Academy at Ocean View Christian Academy, forfeit
San Diego Section
Eastlake Titans 5-1
Olympian Eagles 3-3
Bonita Vista Barons 0-6
Otay Ranch Mustangs 3-3
Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders 2-3
Mar Vista Mariners 4-2
Hilltop Lancers 3-3
Chula Vista Spartans 3-3
Sweetwater Red Devils 2-3
Castle Park Trojans 0-6
San Ysidro Cougars 3-3
Montgomery Aztecs 3-3
Southwest Raiders 2-4
Victory Christian Academy 2-2
Ocean View Christian Academy 3-2
San Diego Section
Mission Hills Grizzlies 5-0
La Costa Canyon Mavericks 5-0
San Marcos Knights 5-0
Madison Warhawks 5-0
Ramona Bulldogs 5-0
Bishop’s Knights 5-0
Southwest El Centro Eagles 5-0
Kearny Komets 5-0
Central Union Spartans 5-0
San Diego Cavers 5-0
Crawford Colts 5-0