Last week they won a big game.
On Friday, the Blue Streaks won a tight one, and with a 15-12 win over Marion Harding, Sandusky remained in first place in the Greater Buckeye Conference.
In the 50th game between the schools, Zak Esposito threw an 8-yard touchdown to Cordney Strickland and Rayshawn Daniels came up with another big defensive play from a unit that has been stingy the past 12 quarters.
“It’s showing what the kids are all about,” Sandusky coach Mike Franklin said. “You keep practicing that week after week after week, and you find out where that stuff works.”
A program fighting for a winning season and to restore its proud tradition has taken the steps with three straight wins.
“I think we’re getting close to that, and I think next week will determine whether we’re there,” Franklin said.
The quest continues when Sandusky (4-4, 3-0) plays Friday at Napoleon for first place in the conference. The Wildcats (3-0 GBC) beat Fremont Ross 28-14 Friday night.
The Streaks took 6:10 off the clock on their 12-play, 63-yard opening drive before Esposito, who threw for 89 yards of 6-of-15 passing, hit Strickland for the opening score.
The President’s came up with an interception by Michael Van Meter at their own 5, then used more than 10 minutes to drive 95 yards for the tying score. Marion’s Asher Rumple found Gene Rucker for a 1-yard scoring pass.
Brock Cremean hit a 22-yard field goal with just more than 3 minutes left before halftime, giving the lead back to the Streaks 9-6 after a 65-yard drive.
“Brock’s come in... he’s done a great job,” Franklin said.
While Marion Harding controlled the clock and the ball for the majority of the third quarter — the Blue Streaks ran just three plays and punted in the third — Sandusky’s defense held on fourth down to start the fourth quarter.
The Presidents moved into Sandusky territory before the game swung in favor of the Streaks when they ripped the ball away from a Marion player.
Daniels picked up the loose ball and ran down the right sideline. Sixty-seven yards later, it looked like Daniels was tackled at the 3-yard line, and Marion set up its defense while the Streaks sent out the kicking team.
One official thought Daniels fumbled the ball forward intentionally, but another ruled it was a true fumble and the Streaks recovered in the endzone for the deciding score, Franklin said, though he wasn’t sure after the game who fell on the ball.
In the end, the PAT missed, sailing right over the goal post, Franklin said.
The Blue Streaks forced another turnover as Phillip Parker picked off Rumple and returned it to the Marion 25-yard line.
The Presidents scored on a 55-yard pass from Rumple to Eric Gilmore to open a 12-9 lead in the third quarter for their first and only lead of the game.
“Marion hurt us on third and long,” Franklin said. “It’s not as though we played our best football tonight.
“We did have some breakdowns on defense, but when we needed it, boy did they come up big.”
Marion had fourth-and-15 late in the game before Chris Graham came through with pressure and the rest of the Streaks met him at the quarterback to end the threat.
“There was a lot of good hitting out there today,” Franklin said. “We’re going to keep coaching, and the kids are going to keep playing.”