In the long, storied tradition of quarterbacks in El Dorado Hills, another one is developing quite nicely.
Say hello to Ian Book.
Just a sophomore, Book won the job over the summer and has looked the part of poised, polished performer, seemingly never rattled in steering No. 4 Oak Ridge to a fast start despite the graduation of every starter on the offensive line and a host of defenders, too. Not to mention facing defenses geared to rattle him.
Book passed for 265 yards, evading pressure, making all of the throws and expertly running out the clock to lift the Trojans past No. 5 Grant 20-17 in a nonleague thriller in Del Paso Heights.
Book hit Justin Priest and Trent Buenzi for touchdown strikes of 12 and 17 yards, respectively, and Adam Walter kicked field goals of 33 and 24 yards as Oak Ridge rallied from a 10-0 deficit to surge to a 20-10 lead Friday night.
The 6-foot-1 Book has been mentored by position coach Mark Watson, who elevated Oak Ridge to championship heights in the 1990s as the head coach. Current coach Eric Cavaliere was delighted to have Watson rejoin the program several seasons ago, and neither coach these days can contain his glee in explaining the rapid rise of Book.
"Book has been very, very good," Cavaliere said this week. "Sometimes I have to remind myself that he is only a sophomore. We have been spoiled here with good quarterbacks over the years, and I think sometimes it's easy to take it for granted.
" Ian has consistently made good decisions, has been incredibly accurate and elusive in extending plays. He is already a very good quarterback, and I am sure he will be a top recruit before his time is done here."
Oak Ridge (4-0) came in having notched victories over Bee-ranked teams in Vista del Lago (38-0), Rocklin (23-21) and Franklin (21-13) in playing the sort of inspired defense that would make the program's founding coach proud.
Jack Harnden, the program leader in the early 1980s, died late this summer after a long illness at 68. He was Watson's defensive coordinator for a 13-0 championship team in 1998.
A new Oak Ridge line allowed just one sack as Grant players chased Book. Running backs Josh Clevenger (22 yards) and Tanner Hughes (19) earned every ounce of their limited yards against a stout Pacers defense.
All the more impressive for Oak Ridge in this effort was prevailing while leading rusher Josh Wellman sat with a sore neck and back after being upended against Franklin last week.
Grant (3-1) found moderate rushing success behind TieNeal Martin (87 yards and a 21-yard scoring run) and Deondre Whittington-Grays (52 and a 1-yard score) but Oak Ridge was able to keep its fourth successive foe largely in check.
The series between the schools started in 2004. Grant won the first six games before Oak Ridge rolled last season 42-14.
"Our series with Grant has been excellent," Cavaliere said. "It's been very good for our program."
Cavaliere said he enjoys the Grant setting fans young and old and the drum line.
"Other than playing at Oak Ridge, my favorite place to play," Cavaliere said. "Their fans are awesome and genuinely into the game great atmosphere."
PHOTO GALLERY: View a gallery of tonight's game.
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SacBee_JoeD. Joe Davidson and Mike Finnerty break down Friday night's action from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320 (linked later to ESPN1320.net)
Editor's note: This story was changed Sept. 21 to correct Adam Walter's last name.