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Xclusive Speed completes wild comeback for first win

Xclusive Speed won its first game of the season Saturday. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo
Xclusive Speed won its first game of the season Saturday. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo

The game of the day, Xclusive Speed (1-1) completed an incredible comeback for its first win of the season by beating TTP, 27-21.

Under the lights in Southern California, the ball moved early on, as Oak Grove senior Elias Herrera took two carries for long runs to get Xclusive Speed close to the red zone before the drive ultimately stalled out.

A TTP turnover provided Pittsburg senior quarterback Eli Brickhandler and Xclusive Speed with a perfect opportunity to capitalize, and that they did, with Brickhandler taking a quarterback draw to the house for a 6-0 Xclusive Speed lead.

TTP dominated the rest of the first half, however, taking apart Xclusive Speed for the remainder of the first half, which started on a 60-yard touchdown  run. 

And TTP continued to shine on the ground, with its rushing attack giving it a 14-6 lead over Xclusive Speed while also seizing control of all the momentum in the stadium. TTP followed that up with a touchdown to take a 21-6 lead with just 40 seconds left in the first half, and TTP had a chance to put the game away by beginning the second half with the ball.

It looked like TTP would take away all the momentum, beginning the third quarter with an 8-minute possession before a stop from Xclusive Speed gave the team a jolt in what would be an incredible final 12 minutes of action.

When Xclusive Speed needed a spark, one of the country’s top players – Valley Christian sophomore receiver Jurrion Dickey, who holds offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Oregon State and San Jose State – took a screen pass 70 yards for a score, cutting the deficit to 21-13.

Down eight points, Xclusive Speed continued to regain the momentum following a defensive stand, which set up Brickhandler and company for a chance to make this a ballgame in the closing minute.

Brickhandler connected with a fellow Bay Valley Athletic League player in Heritage senior Hanai Muhammad for a 15-yard touchdown, and instead of going for two, Xclusive Speed settled for the touchdown with the coaching staff putting trust in its defense while down 21-20.

The defense came up big again, highlighting the trust from the coaching after a stop when TTP drove the ball down the field.

But, when the game appeared nearly over when Xclusive Speed was down by one point on its final drive, Brickhandler made the play of the season. On fourth and long, Brickhandler was scrambling for his life, somehow found a seam and eventually dove for the first down to get the first down by a mere few inches.

Muhammad caught the next first down, putting Xclusive Speed just past midfield and within striking distance, and while holding calls set them back, Dickey was there again to provide another big play, going over multiple defdenders to bring the ball down with 17 seconds remaining on a 30-yard play.

Xclusive Speed needed one more play to take the lead, and Brickhandler did that by connecting with Azari Brown in the far corner of the end zone on a perfect throw and spectacular catch for the win. 

Brickhandler dominated in his first action of the year, throwing for 183 yards and three touchdowns. His recruiting process has heated up in recent months, now boasting offers from Black Hills State, Iowa Wesleyan, La Verne, Lawrence Tech, Rocky Mountain College and Saint Anselm.

Dickey was Brickhandler’s top target of the game, following up a season opener when he had a touchdown grab with six catches for 144 yards and a score Saturday. Dickey is tabbed as a consensus four-star recruit.

Manteca junior receiver Khalid Robinson followed Dickey with three catches for 45 yards, while James Logan’s Jeremiah Patterson had 22 yards and a score. Brown, out of Georgia’s Denmark High School, added the game-winning touchdown grab.

Herrera led Xclusive Speed with 44 rushing yards on four carries. 

Link to Photo Gallery

Box Score: 

Passing: Eli Brickhandler – 183 yards, 3 TD. Drew Rampelberg – 41 yards.

Rushing: Elias Herrera – 4 carries, 44 yards. Eli Brickhandler – 6 carries, 20 yards, TD. Michael Lewis – 1 carry, 8 yards

Receiving: Jurrion Dickey – 6 catches, 144 yards, TD. Khalid Robinson – 3 catches, 45 yards. Jeremiah Patterson – 2 catches, 22 yards, TD. Azari Brown – 2 catches, 19 yards, TD. Hanai Muhammad – 1 catch, 14 yards

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