High School Sports

Prep notes: Rocklin’s O’Rourke passes, kicks and punts No. 6 Thunder to 2-0 start

Max O’Rourke defines versatility.

The Rocklin High School senior starts at quarterback while handling the placekicking, punting and kickoff duties. He also can play wide receiver and defensive back for the No. 6 Thunder, which beat No. 16 Pleasant Grove on the road34-10 and spoiled Del Campo’s home-stadium debut 38-14. Friday night is the annual Quarry Bowl against rival Whitney (0-2), which must negate O’Rourke.

O’Rourke has thrown two touchdown passes, made three field goals and nine extra points, produced 12 touchbacks on kickoffs and averaged 37.2 yards per punt. So, yes, he’s valuable, Thunder coach Greg Benzel said.

“Max is a tremendous leader and a great decision maker,” Benzel said of his first-year starting quarterback. “It’s comforting to know that inside the other 20, we are almost guaranteed three points.”

Rocklin’s Riley Clark and Evyn Holtz average 149 rushing yards combined with five touchdowns. They also start at linebacker for a unit that has forced turnovers and been strong against the run. Matt Tyler has been Rocklin’s top lineman, starting at center and defensive tackle.

Warriors uprising – Galt is 2-0 for the first time in 10 years as coach J.J. Woodward reminds his players that this sure beats the alternative.

The Warriors entered last season with a 21-game losing streak as roster numbers declined with the opening of nearby Liberty Ranch in 2009. The streak ended with a 48-28 victory over Kennedy last September, but Galt finished the 2013 season with an eight-game losing streak, including four shutouts and two games in which it managed just six points.

The wins this season have come against Delhi (28-13) and Kennedy (46-14). Sophomore Zach Orman rushed for 351 yards, a school record, and three touchdowns against Kennedy.

Streak enders – Esparto beat Woodland Christian 62-8 for its first victory since 2011. Randy Ashdown rushed for 204 yards on 12 carries and had three touchdowns and an interception. Darren Erickson produced 12 tackles and also played well on special teams for the Spartans. Esparto endured 0-10 seasons in 2012 and 2013 and had a 22-game losing streak entering last week.

Eagles enforcer – Jim Carter of El Camino is a difference maker in practice and games. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior linebacker, who was recently offered a scholarship by Sacramento State, had 17 tackles in an opening win over Rosemont and 10 in a loss to No. 8 Sacramento.

“His tackles make noise,” El Camino coach Adam Reinking said. “He’s pretty darn good, and he plays fast. He runs scout defense for us, and it can be frustration because we’re not sure if plays are working with him in the middle. There’s the ‘Jim Factor’ as he blows plays up.”

Young runner – Woodland coach Bert Salinas said he has a rising star in sophomore tailback Nolan Dahler. He rushed for 217 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries behind a line thinned by injury and illness in the Wolves’ 37-34 victory over Fairfield. Dahler has six touchdowns.

“He is very tough and physical, a great leader,” Salinas said. “He was nominated by the team as a captain as a sophomore. He does have a bright future.”

Enterprising results – In an effort to prepare for another Northern Section championship run, and another shot at a CIF State Bowl, Enterprise of Redding scheduled tough opponents early this season.

The Hornets opened with a 35-7 win over Whitney and will play at longtime power Vacaville. The Hornets’ 13-0 record was ruined by Chaminade of West Hills in the Division II Bowl 41-9. Vacaville will offer Chaminade-like speed, which overwhelmed Enterprise in last December’s title game.

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