Although Santana lost in the Division 4 championship game to Valley Center, Santana held their own the whole game and only lost by six points in what was a 20-14 game. The Sultans were already down on star power as they were missing star running back Garrett Hath due to a concussion as well as player of the year candidate Landon Lozoya.
Lozoya, who was the Santana quarterback and wide receiver, was injured in the previous game after taking a hard hit. He was admitted to a hospital and had emergency surgery for internal bleeding and other injuries. He was released from the hospital the day of the championship game and was wheeled out onto the field at Qualcomm in a wheelchair.
He received a standing ovation from the crowd as he stood up and walked to mid field to do the coin toss for the final time as a Sultan. Lozoya was a finalist for the Prep Pigskin Report’s Silver Pigskin award which was televised live from the Hall of Champions the day after the game.
He did not win the award; however, Santana’s head coach Dave Gross received $2500 from the Chargers for the Sultan football program and was declared coach of the year. Gross is now retiring from his job as coach and as a P.E. teacher at Santana. Interestingly enough, Gross was my P.E. teacher as a freshman in high school four years ago and he was a very interesting and truly nice guy.
In terms of my point of view, I really enjoyed seeing my former high school do so well in a sport that they traditionally struggle in. I believe that all Sultans, former and current, feel the same way.
“It’s good to know that our team improved,” said for Santana student and current Grossmont student Zach Scott. “Although they lost at Qualcomm, at least
they made it.”
It was also a major bummer for me to see Landon not be able to play his final game for the team. He is a very talented athlete and I think even more so in basketball which is just around the corner. The kid definitely has a bright future ahead of him but he looked devastated sitting on the sidelines watching his team play in their biggest game of the season without him.
Regardless of how the team feels about the outcome of the game, they should all be very proud of how far they made it. I am very proud to see people that I’ve known for while really step up to the plate and take the team so far. I hope it is something that they all will never forget.
Brauer is news editor of the GC Summit. He may be contacted at [email protected]