David Sandy has been the go-to guy for the Los Angeles Jordan football team all season and he was again Friday afternoon in the City Section Division III final at Birmingham High.
The junior tailback and safety ran for 246 yards and four touchdowns in 29 carries and broke up several passes on defense as the fourth-seeded Bulldogs overcame a 10-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to upset Washington Prep 42-30.
“I’m used to being targeted — that’s nothing new,” said Sandy, who took a direct snap, faked a pass and scampered 16 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:10 left and padded the lead on a two-yard run with 30 seconds remaining, two plays after Washington was stopped short on fourth down at its 14. “We run several plays from that formation where I line up at quarterback, make it look like I’m throwing to freeze the defense, then take off. It happened to work that time.”
Sandy opened the scoring on a 58-yard run on a fake punt and added a two-point conversion run to give Jordan (11-3) an early 8-0 lead. Washington Prep’s Sesame Mixon scored on a five-yard quarterback keeper late in the first quarter, but the two-point try was incomplete.
In the second quarter, Sandy scored his second touchdown on a one-yard dive but was tackled short of the end zone on the two-point try. Washington Prep’s Freeman Hopkins caught a four-yard scoring pass from Mixon and Shane Sullivan added the two-point grab to tie it 14-14 five seconds before halftime.
As impressive as Sandy’s individual performance was, he got plenty of help from his friends.
“We won this as a team, I couldn’t have done it without my line,” said Sandy, who entered the game having rushed for 2,578 yards and 35 touchdowns. “We wanted to win and we believed we would even when we were down. We lost to them 50-0 last year so this was payback.”
Isaiah Harris caught a 61-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the second half and Zion Garrett added a two-point conversion to vault the second-seeded Generals (5-9) into the lead 22-14.
De’Marrion Brown caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Marquin Nelson to pull Jordan to within 22-20 midway through the third quarter.
Washington Prep, seeking its first City title, made it a double-digit lead on Mixon’s 15-yard scramble and his two-point toss to Harris with 10:58 left. Jordan responded with a 62-yard touchdown strike from Nelson to Brown, and Sandy’s conversion run pulled the Bulldogs to within 30-28 at the 9:07 mark.
Mixon was sidelined because of a broken bone in his hand early in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Hopkins.
Jordan captured its first City crown since back-to-back Division 2A titles in 1979 and 1980 under Henry Washington. The teams met in the final in 1979 at Jordan and the Bulldogs prevailed 2-0 on a safety when a high snap over the punter’s head sailed out the back of the end zone.
Washington Prep started the season 0-4 and fired its coach. Boys basketball coach Jovante King stepped in to pilot the team to the final with the aid of former Dorsey coach Paul Knox, who came out of retirement to serve as a consultant.
“I’m not switching careers … this was a one-time deal,” said King, who had coached football only at the Pop Warner level before now. “The principal asked if I’d take over or the season would be canceled, so I agreed to do it for the kids. It’s more challenging dealing with 11 football players than five basketball players … the difference is night and day.”