LAND O’LAKES — Friday’s game wasn’t the cleanest but with Sunlake’s defense and junior running back Nate Johnson it didn’t have to be as the Seahawks stayed undefeated with a 15-0 victory over Anclote.
Johnson ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile Sunlake recorded a whopping nine sacks, on top of that stopping the Sharks for negative yardage seven other times. Anclote ended with 55 total yards.
Defensive leader Ben Wood injured his knee in the first half and had to be helped off the field. Sunlake coach Bill Browning said it was too early to speculate on the severity. “That could have put us in a panic mode,” he said.
Far from it. Sunlake’s defense bailed out its special teams three times after the Seahawks committed a personal foul on an Anclote punt. Sunlake had four turnovers but wasn’t hurt by them.
When Anclote’s Willie Barrett took an interception down to the Seahawk 18 late in the third quarter, the Sharks only went backward and ended up missing a field goal. After a Sunlake fumble in the game’s final minutes Anclote again lost yards, fittingly finishing with two sacks.
Zion Osborn recorded 3.5 sacks while Nick Larry and Jarrett Stark had two each.
Anclote (0-3) was notably short-handed. Coach Matt Wicks suspended eight starters.
“We had some discipline issues. We had some players who felt they were above the team, and I don’t foster that,” Wicks said. He indicated the starters will be back for Anclote’s district opener next week against Ridgewood.
The game’s first score came after consecutive fumbles. After Dakota Kerns forced Johnson to fumble through the end zone, Sunlake got it right back when Austin Yeloushan knocked the ball lose from Trent Crawford and Joe Jean-Baptiste recovered.
Johnson went in from 6 yards away and a two-point run by Logan Wolfe made it 8-0 midway through the second quarter. The other score came on Johnson’s 36-yard TD, right after Dayton Feiden’s 27-yard completion to Ricardo Williams.