The Jesuit High School Marauders bounded into their season-opening football game on Aug. 29 at Cal against national powerhouse De La Salle with hopes of making a game of it, but they departed Berkeley a battered team, rubbing out the welts and bruises from a 63-0 loss. Then again, no Northern California team has beaten De La Salle since 1992, a streak of 255 games.
Jesuit coach Marlon Blanton challenged his team to improve after that loss to his alma mater, and the Mauraders have responded with a five-game winning streak, propelling them to No.4 in The Bee’s rankings after a second, more successful, Bay Area experience.
On Friday, the Marauders (5-1) beat previous No. 4 Elk Grove 42-38 in a Delta League game at Levi’s Stadium. Beau Bisharat rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead 51-yarder with just over five minutes to play, and quarterback Cole Brownholtz connected with Luke Bagley for two touchdowns.
“There’s no team that you’ll see that’s more physical and more disciplined than De La Salle,” Jesuit wide receiver Isaiah Bailey said. “So we’ve embraced the beating we took, and we knew playing them would help us in the long run.”
Said Brownholtz: “Getting better was the only option we had. Beating Elk Grove was our biggest win, and it was nice to get that power-school win. But we can still get better.”
Injury updates – The cyst found in Rocklin quarterback Max O’Rourke’s femur after he broke his right leg Friday against Del Oro is benign, the family told The Bee. O’Rourke, a senior who helped the No. 3 Thunder to a 6-0 start, had surgery Sunday and will miss the rest of the season, but he is expected to recovery fully.
Antelope quarterback Montel Aaron was hospitalized with a concussion during Friday’s game against Roseville, though he was later released. The junior still had headaches Sunday and must be cleared before playing again.
Other quarterbacks who have been sidelined with an injury this season include Hunter Rodrigues of Whitney with a broken collarbone and Valley Christian’s Micah Gunter with a broken leg.
Honoring a fallen teammate – Vacaville, which beat Rodriguez 61-7 in a Monticello Empire League opener Friday, dedicated the game and season to a teammate, popular fullback Demetrious Ward, who was shot and killed Oct. 6.
The team gave Ward’s father a framed No. 21 jersey before the game, and players took a knee to kiss or pat a framed photo of Ward in his uniform. Kane Cunningham, a cousin of Ward’s, took the opening kickoff 80 yards for a Vacaville touchdown.
“Tough week,” said Vacaville coach Mark Papadopoulos, whose team beat No. 7 Granite Bay 13-7 and lost to No. 11 Oak Ridge 24-23. “I’m so proud of our guys. Demetrious was dear to our school.”
According to Vacaville police, Ward was in his truck outside an apartment complex early in the morning when he was shot.
Season saver – Roseville has lost by three points to Chico, 10 to No. 16 Rio Linda, three to Del Campo and 21 to No. 20 Cosumnes Oaks, but a late stand on Friday helped the Tigers beat Antelope 27-25 in Capital Valley Conference play. The Tigers were led by quarterback Adam Besana, tight end Jimmy Jaggers and running back Ben Zahniser.
Record setter – Escalon beat Hughson 35-20 on Friday to give coach Mark Loureiro his 261st victory, tying him with Max Miller for the Sac-Joaquin Section lead.
Loureiro, a section Hall of Fame coach, has coached at his alma mater since 1989. Miller, now retired, won most of his games during two stints at Cordova.
Said Loureiro: “It’s big, and I don’t mean that in a cocky way. It represents a lot of hard work by the kids, coaches, and sacrifices made by my family. But it’s not about me. It’s about our community, our school, our coaches and our kids. I’m really proud of this.”
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.
THE BEE’S TOP 20
Last week’s ranking in parentheses
1. Folsom (1) 7-0
2. Grant (2) 6-0
3. Rocklin (3) 6-0
4. Jesuit (5) 5-1
5. Elk Grove (4) 4-2
6. Inderkum (9) 6-1
7. Granite Bay (10) 4-2
8. Franklin (11) 4-2
9. Monterey Trail (6) 5-1
10. Del Oro (7) 2-5
11. Oak Ridge (8) 4-3
12. Sacramento (12) 5-1
13. Woodcreek (13) 5-1
14. Christian Brothers (14) 5-1
15. River Valley (20) 5-2
16. Rio Linda (15) 5-1
17. El Dorado (16) 6-0
18. Bear River (19) 5-1
19. Antelope (17) 4-2
20. Cosumnes Oaks (-) 4-2