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Aquinas overcomes injury to Branden Rankins, routs Rancho Christian

By in Press Enterprise on September 23, 2017

By Tim Meehan

TEMECULA – When star running back Branden Rankins left the game with an apparent hamstring injury late in the first quarter, the Aquinas side of the field held its collective breath for a few moments. The next play from scrimmage even resulted in a turnover after a fumbled snap.

The nervousness didn’t last long.

Backup running back Andrew Kellstrom scored on a 65-yard run on the next possession and Salieu Ceesay connected with Marceles Gooden for long touchdowns on the ensuing two drives as the Falcons rolled to a 56-10 win over host Rancho Christian.

“There are a lot of guys on this team that have a lot of purpose and different things that they do,” Aquinas head coach Jordan Brusig said. “When one guy goes down, someone has to step up.”

Rankins had rushed five times for 83 yards before pulling up lame following a 44-yard scamper. But the play of Kellstrom, Ceesay and the offensive line made sure the Falcons (5-0) didn’t skip a beat. Brusig was impressed by the job his senior quarterback did to steady the ship.

“When things like that happen, it’s hard to control the team maybe just because that’s the guy and he goes down,” Brusig said. “It’s his job to keep everyone’s emotions in check and handle it like a leader and he did.”

Ceesay completed seven of his 10 attempts, four of them for touchdowns while also running one in from 43 yards out in the third quarter. He connected with senior Marceles Gooden on touchdown plays of 34, 56 and 80 yards, all in the first half.

“We have so many good guys that I’m confident in this team,” said Ceesay, who has 10 touchdown passes to just one interception this season. “Of course (Rankins is) a great leader and a great player but that just gives […]    

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