High School Sports

Thundering in from Placer County, Rocklin seeks second successive SFL upset

Rocklin coach Jason Adams talks with his players back
Rocklin coach Jason Adams talks with his players back Special to The Bee

Jason Adams had it made.

He was the assistant football coach at Rocklin High School for 17 seasons, meaning he coached his guys, and then was done with it.

He did not have the burden of the entire program on his shoulders. He does now, and check out the grin on a man known for his fierce game-day gaze. Life is still good in Placer County.

Rocklin is 5-1, having soared to No. 2 in The Bee’s rankings after defeating previous No. 2 Oak Ridge 28-22 on Friday in a typical Sierra Foothill League thriller.

The man Adams replaced, Greg Benzel, was on on hand to peek at the action, and the old friends embraced during a jubilant postgame scene. Now more fun: A Friday date at top-ranked Folsom to face a program that has not lost an SFL game since being realigned into that conference before the 2013 season - a span of 37 games. Rocklin has Folsom’s attention, to be sure.

“Oh, they’re really good,” Folsom coach Paul Doherty said.

Rocklin has a balanced offense and an attacking defense. Richie Watts has been steady at quarterback, the Thunder averages 144.4 yards rushing a game and receivers Grayson Barnes and Jaylen Pickens help spread defenses. Christian Awwad averages 7.5 tackles a game and the Thunder have 19 sacks and 18 quarterback hurries.

“It’s been good so far,” Adams said. “Richie’s a winner. We love Richie. We couldn’t win without him. Woody Brennan, our other quarterback, is a good punter, and he and Richie are good friends. And we’re growing on defense.”

As for Folsom, Adams knows the Bulldogs have skill players right and left, and he sizes it all up as, “It’s going to be fun.”

JoeD Picks the Preps

Last week we were correct in picking Folsom over Menlo-Atherton, Elk Grove over Sheldon, and no one else, making for a sputtering 2-3 week. Fortunately, we do not collect a coaching stipend for such hit and misses.

We missed on Cosumnes Oaks beating Pleasant Grove, Granite Bay beating Grant and Oak Ridge beating Rocklin.

So we regroup and go again:

No. 2 Rocklin (5-1) at No. 1 Folsom (4-1)

When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Storyline: A good line of thinking is that if Folsom is going to stumble in the Sierra Foothill League this season it will happen here and now, especially since Rocklin just beat Oak Ridge, which nearly toppled Folsom. An X-factor is Rocklin two-way lineman terror Bobby Piland.

We think we know: Folsom 35-28

No. 12 Pleasant Grove (4-1) at No. 6 Elk Grove (4-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Storyline: PG has surged after an 0-10 season in 2018 and Elk Grove is playing its best ball under third-year coach John Heffernan. This Delta League challenge will go to the defense, and Elk Grove is coming off a 55-0 win over prolific Sheldon. Advantage: Herd

We think we know: Elk Grove 35-21

No. 16 Bear River (5-0) at No. 14 Center (5-0)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Storyline: These teams battled to the wire in a spirited Pioneer Valley League meeting a year ago, won by Bear River, and it figures to be just as intense this time. QB’s Michael Wortham of Center and Tre Maronic of Bear River are tremendous playmakers and leaders.

We think we know: Center 28-21

No. 10 Cosumnes Oaks (5-1) at Jesuit (2-3)

When: Saturday, 2 p.m.

Storyline: CO has speed, skill and depth, and it owns a big win over Monterey Trail while Jesuit has found its footing after an 0-3 start, thanks in large part to impressive and now-healthy QB Daniel Susac, whose line has to protect here in this Delta contest. Can Jesuit deal with CO’s speed?

We think we know: Cosumnes Oaks 35-32

No. 18 Whitney (3-3) at No. 13 Granite Bay (3-3)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Storyline: Aren’t all SFL games a hoot? Whitney is coming off of a 30-27 win over Del Oro, which lost the previous week to Granite Bay 28-10. So pick Whitney, right? If life were so simple.

We think we know: Granite Bay 17-14

Union Mine (3-2) at Rosemont (5-0)

When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Storyline: UM won the Sierra Valley Conference last season under beloved coach Chic Bist, who died earlier this season after a long cancer bout, leaving son Jacob Bist to lead the way. Rosemont, meanwhile, has had a steady program for years under coach Rich Wanlin.

We think we know: Rosemont 28-27

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