Despite having superior size, speed and depth, No. 2 Grant found itself in a first-half hole Friday night during the Delta League game against No. 9 Monterey Trail and its standout running back, Trey Nahhas.
Trailing by one point at halftime, the Pacers and running back Deshawn Collins picked up the pace in the final 24 minutes.
With Collins rushing for 233 yards and five touchdowns, including four in the second half, and Mike Green adding two more rushing scores, Grant (7-0, 4-0) defeated Monterey Trail 54-29.
The Mustangs (5-2, 2-2) dominated the first 24 minutes in taking a 15-14 lead. Their scrappy veer offense had the ball for more than 17 minutes, nearly 11 more than the vaunted Pacers, and Nahhas had 152 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also threw a 41-yard halfback option touchdown pass to Jermaine Bell.
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But Grant’s offensive line, which averages nearly 300 pounds, wore down the much smaller Mustangs. Meanwhile the defense was able to keep Nahhas in check, though he did add a 3-yard third-quarter rushing score.
No. 3 Rocklin 35, No. 13 Woodcreek 7 in Roseville – Dustin Howistine returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown, and junior quarterback William Floyd, making his first start in place of the injured Max O’Rourke, hit Wes Preece with a 10-yard scoring strike and Evyn Holtz with a 2-yard score to keep the Thunder (7-0, 3-0) undefeated and set up next Friday’s titanic Sierra Foothill League showdown with undefeated and nationally ranked Folsom (7-0, 3-0), which had a bye. Last week, Floyd came off the bench after O’Rourke suffered a broken leg and rallied the Thunder to an 18-15 win over Del Oro.
No. 5 Elk Grove 42, Pleasant Grove 14 at Sheldon – Eltoro Allen rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown and Spencer Sheff went for 95 and two scores as the Thundering Herd (5-2, 2-2) beat the Eagles (1-6, 0-4), ending a two-game Delta League losing streak.
No. 6 Inderkum 30, No. 15 River Valley 12 in Natomas – Austin Thurman rushed for touchdowns of 23 and 2 yards; Larry Hardy rushed for a 19-yard score and Ivan Prevost added a 9-yard scoring run as the Tigers (7-1, 4-0) beat the Falcons (5-3, 3-1) in a battle of Tri-County Conference unbeatens. CJ Garmon had two interceptions for Inderkum. Robert Robinson had a 74-yard fumble return for River Valley.
No. 7 Granite Bay 38, Nevada Union 0 in Granite Bay – Lucas Baiocchi’s 86-yard burst set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Ben Smith; Cameron Smith returned an interception 65 yards for a score, and Brian Graber caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Justin Yeaton as the Grizzlies (5-2, 2-1) kept the Miners (3-5, 0-4) winless in the SFL.
No. 8 Franklin 49, Davis 13 at Cosumnes Oaks High – Patrick Walker returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown; Kaderro Tamendong rushed for two first-half touchdowns, and Jake Lopez threw a 40-yard scoring strike to Brandon Johnson as the Wildcats (5-2, 3-1) defeated the Blue Devils (2-5, 1-3) in the Delta Conference game.
No. 16 Rio Linda 70, Woodland 13 in Rio Linda – Marcel Brown scored five touchdowns and Zak Burden threw two touchdown passes and rushed for two scores in leading the Knights (6-1, 2-1) over the Wolves (1-6, 0-3) in the Tri-County Conference game.
No. 18 Bear River 21, Colfax 20 in Colfax – Kyle Uclaray scored with 1:36 to play as the Bruins (6-1, 2-0) rallied from a 20-7 third-quarter deficit to beat the Falcons (5-2, 1-1) in the Pioneer Valley League contest. John Voter III had two touchdowns for Bear River, including an 8-yard pass from brother Jason Voter with 10:40 to go in the fourth quarter. A missed PAT in the first quarter proved the difference.
Del Campo 42, Ponderosa 35 in Fair Oaks – Maceo Clinton caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ben Purcell with 2:03 to play for the game winner, and Lance Harris rushed for three scores to lead the Cougars (5-2, 3-1) past the Bruins in the Capital Valley Conference game. Ponderosa’s Kevin Achernechet had three touchdown catches, including a 93-yarder, and returned a punt 89 yards for a score.
Placer 55, Foothill 13 in Auburn – Frankie O’Neal caught a 63-yard pass from Clark Pietromonaco and returned a fumble 22 yards for a touchdown, and Ryan Huston returned a kickoff 61 yards for a score as the Hillmen (5-2, 2-0) beat the Mustangs (1-6, 0-2) in the Pioneer Valley League game.
Capital Christian 49, Dixon 14 in Rosemont – Justice Shelton-Mosley rushed for two touchdowns, returned a punt 67 yards for a score and caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Norville to lead the Cougars (7-0, 3-0) over the Rams (4-4, 3-1) in the Golden Empire League game.
Roseville 42, Bella Vista 14 in Fair Oaks – Blake Rayback returned an interception 15 yards for a touchdown, Michael Dobler and Carson Miller combined for a pair of touchdown passes and Bryce Crouch returned a punt for a touchdown as the Tigers (3-4, 2-2) roared past the Broncos (3-4, 2-2) in the Capital Valley Conference game.
Bradshaw Christian 36, Golden Sierra 28 in south Sacramento – Grant Dragmire had three touchdowns and a game-clinching interception to lead the Pride (4-3, 3-0) past the Grizzles (5-2, 2-1) in the Sierra Delta League showdown.
The Bee’s Joe Davidson contributed to this report.