High School Sports

‘Champions have to win games like this’: Rio Linda finds a way to OT win over Roseville

Rio Linda’s defense squares up against Roseville on Friday night.
Rio Linda’s defense squares up against Roseville on Friday night.

When Rio Linda High School needed Cameron Skattabo most, he delivered.

The senior filled in at linebacker, ran through the Roseville defense at his familiar running back spot and even threw the ball a few times. Skattebo’s 25-yard go-ahead touchdown run in overtime, followed by his help on a goal-line stand, allowed the Knights to leave Placer County with the 28-21 victory in an entertaining nonleague game Friday.

“Champions have to win games like this,” Rio Linda coach Jack Garceau said to his team after the game. “That was a playoff-type game and atmosphere.”

Since taking over the program in June, Joe Cattolico has transformed Roseville into a contender. The Tigers’ (2-2) previous loss was by a point to rival Oakmont, when the Vikings made a last-play stop to deny a Roseville two-point conversion. For a team that finished 3-7 last season, it’s a major step in the right direction, and the effort caught the attention of Rio Linda (3-1)

“He’s done an outstanding job in the time he’s been there,” Garceau said on Cattolico. “(Roseville) has the right guy. It’s a blessing for Roseville to have him come in and take over the program.”

Skattebo rushed for 136 of his 190 yards in the first half and quarterback Abraham Banks rushed for 97 of his 135 yards in the first half as the evenly-matched teams fought to a 14-14 draw at halftime. Johnny Serano also scored a touchdown for Rio Linda.

Cattolico also relies on the run. With Roseville starting running back Aaron Shima out with an illness, Joe Brijs and Cole Errecart stepped up. Brijs ran for 103 yards and had touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards. Errecart, who primarily plays quarterback, switched to running back in Shima’s absence. He finished with 110 yards, including a 3-yard score.

But it was defense that ruled. Big fourth-down stops in regulation by both defenses sent the game to overtime. On the first play, Skattebo rushed for a 25-yard score to take a 28-21 lead. Rio Linda’s offensive line, made up of Julian Arvizu, Jesse Destefano, Emanuel Enriquez, Eddie Rabuku and Michael Volavola, led the rushing attack.

“Our offensive line is very young and they’re still learning,” Garceau said. “At the end of the game, they did their job well. I couldn’t ask for much more out of them.”

With Roseville needing a score to extend the game and facing fourth and short at the 6, the Knights made the stop, led by Skattebo.

“(On that final defensive stand) we came together as a team,” Garceau said. “Roseville made us a better football team tonight.”

Rio Linda has a bye next week and Roseville will host crosstown rival Woodcreek in the annual Junction Bowl.

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