A car of this magnitude on most nights would be the leading attraction.
It was a 1967 vintage replica model of the Batmobile, jet black, red trim, sleek, flashy and fun and a focal point amid homecoming festivities.
But in El Dorado Hills, the wheels that really turn heads belong to Marco Baldacchino.
He’s the star quarterback for No. 2 Oak Ridge High School, and the senior was typically fast, elusive and effective with a team to match. Baldacchino was up to old tricks in leading the charge for a 27-10 victory over No. 7 Rocklin on Friday night.
Oak Ridge (6-0, 2-0) and top-ranked Folsom stand as the lone unbeatens in the rugged Sierra Foothill League, and if the teams can maintain their momentum, they will meet for the title in the regular-season finale, just like a season ago. Folsom won that contest by a hair, and that fuels an Oak Ridge team heavy on experience.
Baldacchino wows his coaches with his attention to detail, leadership and skills. He had a 5-yard touchdown run on a drive in which he caught a 10-yard pass off a trick play from cousin David Simmons. Baldacchino made it 20-10 with 3:21 left in the third quarter.
Baldacchino’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Austin Jarrard made it 27-10 early in the fourth. Simmons had a 1-yard run to give Oak Ridge the lead for good at 13-10. Baldacchino passed for 177 yards and ran for 122. He comes from great football genes, including cousins David and Dano Graves, brothers who led Folsom to championship success in recent years.
“Marco’s a football junkie,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “He breaks down film. He listens. He leads. He’s a pleasure to coach. We’ve had a really strong legacy of quarterbacks here, and he’s added to it.”
Cavaliere added, “He’s such a great weapon. It’s like playing with 12 players because he’s a quarterback who can pass and who can run.”
Said Baldacchino, “Our thing is to get better every week, and I think we are. Our offensive line was great, the defense, too. I love everything we’re doing, and we play with a swagger.”
An unsung component to this offense are the linemen, including do-all marvel Justin Poerio, Bryan Catchings, Jacob Crannell, Jesse Jimenez, Greg Masegian, Bailey Smith, Zachary Welch and tight end Gage King. Catchings has given a verbal commitment to UNLV.
The defense has been anchored by linebacker Nate Otto, who received a scholarship offer from San Diego earlier in the week and was named Homecoming King at halftime.
“We’ve had some teams where we could score but couldn’t stop teams,” Cavaliere said. “And we’ve had years where we’ve been rock solid on defense and we couldn’t score enough. We’ve got a long way to go, and we can get better, but if we keep improving and playing hard, we’ve got big things coming.”
Rocklin (4-2, 1-1) is still in the title hunt, of course, and the weapons are plentiful, including quarterback Cade Wyant and fullback/linebacker Blayden Brown.
Wyant hit Jordan Daniel for a 33-yard touchdown in the first half.