The defense knew he was coming, knew he’d throw darts and fade patterns, and that he’d run on them.
It was right there on film, gobs of it, and it was right there in real life on a fast field turf.
Hunter Rodrigues showcased some of his outrageous football ability on a chilly Friday night in Loomis, earning the respect of his opponents, but Del Oro High School unleashed some fireworks, too. The fifth-seeded Golden Eagles surged ahead of a back-and-forth affair on a Cam Davis eight-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds to go, and then withstood one frantic, final effort by Rodrigues to prevail 34-28 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II opener. Rodrigues accounted for all four of No. 12-seeded Whitney’s touchdowns in passing for 231 yards and rushing for 153. Stone Smartt hit Mason Hurst for two touchdowns and Trey Udoffia for one as Del Oro beat Whitney for the third time in the playoffs.
In other D-II games:
No. 2 Antelope 49, No. 15 West-Tracy 21 in Antelope – Montel Aaron passed for 207 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for two scores, and Khanii Lesane, Davaeon Johnson and Curtis Borders had interceptions to lead the Titans (11-0) over the Wolfpack (6-5).
No. 3 Rocklin 34, No. 14 Burbank 14 in Rocklin – Evyn Holtz rushed for 301 yards and accounted for four touchdowns as the Thunder (8-3) defeated the Titans (6-5).
No. 6 Del Campo 28, Pitman-Turlock 20 in Fair Oaks – Manny Valcarcel intercepted a pass in front of the Del Campo (9-2) goal line with seconds remaining to preserve the win moments after the Patriots (6-5) had recovered an onside kick. Javone Jackson rushed for two touchdowns and caught another to lead Del Campo. The Cougars’ Ray Griffin had a 30-yard touchdown catch and blocked a punt.
No. 9 Granite Bay 42, No. 8 Downey 31 in Modesto – Ryan MacIntosh rushed for 75 yards and three touchdowns and Christian Fisher had 109 yards and a touchdown as the Grizzlies (6-5) rushed for 436 yards to defeat the Knights (8-3).
No. 7 Sacramento 85, McNair 46 in Oak Park –Caden Voges passed for three touchdowns, including a 96-yarder, and ran for two as the Dragons (8-3) prevailed in one of the highest-scoring games in section playoff history over McNair of Stockton (8-3). E.J. Larry returned an interception 25 yards for the Dragons and Christian Simmons ran for three scores.
No. 1 Folsom 63, No. 16 Kennedy 0 in Folsom – Jake Jeffrey passed for 223 yards and five touchdowns, hitting five different receivers, as the Bulldogs shut out the Cougars (8-3). Folsom (11-0) won its state-leading 27th consecutive game and 13th consecutive section playoff game as it makes a bid for a fourth consecutive section title.
No. 3 Oak Ridge 35, No. 14 Monterey Trail 14 in El Dorado Hills – Ian Book hit Brock Martin for a touchdown and rushed for a score, and Gage Webb, Rhys Kennedy and Michael Pittman had rushing touchdowns as the Trojans (9-2) defeated the Mustangs (5-6).
No. 6 Cosumnes Oaks 62, Lincoln-Stockton 27 in Elk Grove – Maurice Hayden passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns, Dante Davis rushed for 213 yards and three touchdowns, and Christian McFarland rushed for a 75-yard touchdown and had two touchdown catches, including a 70-yarder, as the Wolfpack (8-3) crushed the Trojans (6-5).
No. 9 Franklin 41, No. 8 Turlock 24 in Turlock – Lamar Jackson threw 48- and 40-yard touchdown passes to Tariq Glenn and Donovan Hawkins and rushed for two scores to lead the Wildcats (7-4) over Turlock (7-3).
No. 3 Inderkum 82, Lincoln 32 in Natomas – Jimmie Johnson rushed for 178 yards and scored two touchdowns in dedicating the game to his slain cousin Jaulon Clavo, a cornerback who was shot hours before Grant’s scheduled D-II kickoff, in the rout of the Fighting Zebras.
No. 5 Placer 56, No. 12 River Valley 41 in Auburn – Jared Halbert rushed for four touchdowns and Owen Scott added three rushing touchdowns, including a 67-yarder, as the Hillmen (11-0) held off the Falcons (8-3).
No. 9 Christian Brothers 27, No 8 Vanden 26 in Fairfield – Braeden Bourke threw two touchdown passes, Jamarri Jackson rushed for two scores, Diego Black had two interceptions and blocked a critical PAT, and the Vikings (7-4) missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds as the Falcons (9-2) prevailed on the road.
No. 4 Liberty Ranch 45, No. 5 Dixon 22 in Galt – Rick Van Houten threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Westlund and a 42-yard scoring strike to Devin Hardaway, and also rushed for a two-yard score as the Hawks (7-4) defeated the Rams (8-3).
No. 2 Capital Christian 49, No. 7 Highlands 6 in Rosemont – Jacob Norville threw touchdown passes of 26 yards to Jaysson Taylor and 11 yards to Marcus Fowler, and D’Marcus Ross and Julian Leslie each rushed for two touchdowns as the Cougars (11-0) downed the Scots (6-5).
No. 6 Bear River 20, No. 3 Ripon 0 in Ripon – Jason Voter threw three touchdown passes, including a 65-yarder to Dave Mastrella and a 50-yarder to Ben O’Lena, and the Bruins (8-3) were stellar defensively in beating the Indians (6-5) and snapping a three-game losing streak.
No. 2 Bradshaw Christian 49, No. 7 Amador 15 in Sacramento – Kyle Wilburn threw three touchdown passes, and Quinton Brown and Michael Sinclair returned interceptions 97 and 50 yards, respectively, for touchdowns to lead the Pride (10-1) over the Buffaloes (6-5).
Bee staff writer Bill Paterson contributed to this report