All this for a chunk of granite?
No. 6 Rocklin got its school name and the final score chiseled into a 75-pound chunk of granite for posterity’s sake with a 40-22 victory over host No. 15 Whitney. Along with the Quarry Bowl trophy comes bragging rights in this town that produced much of the granite used to build the state Capitol.
Rocklin converted three Whitney first-half turnovers into 16 points and started the second half with Blayden Brown’s 26-yard interception return for a TD. Brown had two more second-half interceptions that led to touchdowns, the last setting up Cade Wyant’s 1-foot dive with under five minutes remaining.
In all, Whitney committed seven turnovers.
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“All week we studied their two main receivers and we noticed that when one would go out, one would come in about 5 yards deeper, so I would just read that. I knew that someone was coming. I’d look at the quarterback’s eyes and he’d throw it,” Brown said.
Brown, who also ran 21 yards for a first-quarter touchdown, was so dominant that as the clock ticked down to zeroes and he stood on the sidelines, teammate Max Diven got down on one knee and feigned a wedding proposal. It was much better than the average “we’re not worthy” gesticulation.
“I was surprised and I didn’t see that coming,” Brown said of the gesture that elicited raucous laughter from the Rocklin crowd. “I had to say yes. He’s my teammate.”
This is the last year that the teams meet this early in the season as Whitney moves into the always-brutal Sierra Foothill League for 2018. In the near future, the Quarry Bowl may be played not only for the chunk of granite but for a playoff berth or league title.
Both grandstands were packed for the sellout, standing-room-only crowd that leaves the streets of Rocklin empty and the respective stadiums with a throwback atmosphere where small-town high school was once the only entertainment outlet.
Overflow seating in the west end zone featured lawn chairs and barbecues. Take away the yellow goalposts and the scene looked like a huge Fourth of July block party. Quarry Bowl T-shirts in either Rocklin blue or Whitney maroon are hot sellers and those sales fund school clubs and academics on both campuses.
“This rivalry game means a lot to us because this game is a bond for this community,” Brown said. “We’re best friends with a lot of those guys on Whitney and we hang out with them every week. I couldn’t ask for a better group of opponents.”
Rocklin plays at Clovis West of Fresno next Friday while Whitney tries to halt a two-game skid at Bella Vista.
Rocklin 40, Whitney 22
Rocklin (2-0) 13 0 14 0 – 40
Whitney (1-1) 7 0 8 0 - 22
W – Hamp 4 pass from Eklund (Patel kick)
R – Brown 21 run (Purvis kick)
R – Roberts 32 run (pass fail)
R – Purvis 31 field goal
W – Hamp 8 pass from Eklund (Patel kick)
R - Brown 26 INT return (Purvis kick)
R – Skerl 20 pass from Wyant (Patel kick)
W – J. Sanchez 22 run (2 point pass good)
R – Purvis 25 field goal
R – Wyant 1 run (Purvis kick)