Notre Dame recruit scores game-winning TD on a jump ball ... laying on his back.

Independent Contributor

MODESTO — Modesto Christian defeated Escalon on Friday, 7-6, improving its record to 7-0.

The Crusaders cruised into the game, outscoring its last two opponents 98-3. Their defense hasn’t allowed double-digit points in any game this season, and that streak continued on Friday. Escalon had enjoyed similar success this season, but was coming off a 20-17 overtime loss to Hilmar.

Befitting their defenses, neither team had very many explosive plays, consistently moving the ball on short gains.

Rushing the ball was the main source of yardage. On a cold, windy evening, both quarterbacks struggled to hit their receivers.

Despite this, Modesto Christian's Hayden Sauser connected with tight end Xavier Carlton on fourth-and-10 with 12 seconds left. Sauser left his feet to pass over the middle, throwing into triple coverage. The ball was batted around before falling to Carlton, who was laying on his back in the end zone. He raised the ball for the official, who signaled touchdown.

The point-after kick was successful and gave the Crusaders a 7-0 lead with 6 seconds left in the first half, a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

Escalon’s only score of the game came on a 5-yard touchdown run by Bryan Hale early in the 3rd quarter. They had a shot in the red zone earlier, but fumbled the ball on the 3-yard line. With 33 seconds left in the game, the Cougars got the ball on their own 2. On the first play of the drive an errant pass was intercepted and sealed the victory for the Crusaders.

The Cougars have lost two consecutive games by a combined four points. On Friday, Escalon failed to score on two trips inside the red zone, wasting a seven-sack performance by its defense. Hale's touchdown run came off of a turnover. Modesto Christian fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half.

This article was written by volunteer Joey Santos, a Manteca High senior.