It was supposed to be a Quarry Bowl shootout Friday with Rocklin Thunder quarterback William Floyd and favorite pass catcher Wesley Preece matching up against Whitney Wildcats signal caller Hunter Rodrigues and his trusty receiver Devin Brocchini.
But Floyd and running back Evyn Holtz, along with several other players, were suspended for Friday’s seventh annual Quarry Bowl for breaking team rules. No. 8 Whitney took advantage and upset No. 5 Rocklin 28-20 in a nonconference game at Whitney.
Rodrigues threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns, two to Brocchini that included a beautiful 46-yarder while on the run that hit Brocchini in stride along the sideline and put Whitney up by two touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter. He also scored on a one-yard sneak.
“(Brocchini) and I have been best friends since we were 5, and we’ve played on the same team ever since, so we have a special bond,” Rodrigues said. “I’ve never played against him and I never want to.
Rodrigues can give defenses fits in the read-option. He often keeps the ball, and just when defensive coordinators and defensive ends think they have him hemmed in, he’ll bounce outside and deliver a strike on the run, like he did to Brocchini.
He threw for 818 yards and 13 touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season and averaged 123.5 yards a game with his feet. Friday night, he had 59 yards on 12 carries.
Brocchini ended the night with 127 yards on nine catches and the two scores, the first a nine-yard button hook in the corner of the end zone.
“Those two guys put in all the extra work needed to get to their level of success,” said new Whitney coach Paul Doherty , who resurrected Sacramento High’s program before leaving for the foothills. “They throw before and after practice and on the weekends, and it shows on game nights.
Rodrigues said he and his teammates found out about the Rocklin suspensions on Wednesday, and he called a team meeting to discuss how important it is to stay out of trouble..
“Losing our team goals is never worth a party,” Rodrigues said.
The Thunder’s Floyd and Holtz had a hand in all of the Thunder’s eight scores last week in a 54-35 win over Del Campo. Holtz is a team captain.
Evan Michalet, a left-hander, filled in ably for Floyd, throwing for 194 yards and two touchdowns. But Michalet is a very effective wideout and helps balance the Thunder’s offense opposite 6-foot-7 tight end Wesley Preece when Floyd is behind center.
Van Calhoun picked up the slack for Holtz with 125 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. Preece, a co-captain, had his typical great game with 104 yards and a pair of touchdown catches.
But Whitney’s defense, led by nose guard Michael Klaman, stopped Rocklin on two goal-to-go plays and recovered two Rocklin fumbles.
To the Wildcats, Friday’s win was a case of little brother beating up on big brother. The only other Whitney win in the seven years of the Quarry Bowl came in 2011, a 48-34 win when Rodrigues and Brocchini were in the eighth grade. Last season, as juniors, they endured a 62-14 drubbing at Rocklin.
The Quarry Bowl may be showing signs of a real rivalry. It certainly grabs the interest of Rocklin residents, who showed up in droves despite the 95-degree temperature at kickoff. The overflow crowd used lawn chairs to set up on the outside corners of the west end zone, adding to the community atmosphere.
Mark Billingsley is a Carmichael-based freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @editorwriter001.