Joe Davidson

Another top area football team loses its star. Here’s how injuries are impacting region

Elk Grove Thundering Herd quarterback Jake Jordan (2) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Inderkum Tigers on Aug. 25.
Elk Grove Thundering Herd quarterback Jake Jordan (2) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Inderkum Tigers on Aug. 25. Special to The Bee

It was painful enough for Elk Grove to get run out its stadium last Friday by Jesuit, buckling to the surging Marauders 41-14 in a Delta League contest.

The Thundering Herd then learned they lost their offensive leader, striking another blow to the storied program’s championship aspirations, which are tenuous at 3-3.

Quarterback Jake Jordan has been sidelined indefinitely with a strained knee. It looked serious when the senior went down late, and he will know for certain in the coming weeks if he will need surgery. In the meantime, the doctor’s mandate is rest and recovery, but the fear is that it could be well into winter before he’s back to full strength.

Jordan expects to be good to go for baseball season, when he will be a returning All-Metro player for a program that seeks its fourth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title. Jordan leads Elk Grove with 781 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns as the focal point to the Herd’s triple-option offense.

“This sucks,” said Jordan, who is committed to UC Davis for baseball. “Suiting up with my brothers on Friday night was what I looked forward to every week, and I miss it already. I’m just trying to focus on helping the team any way I can off the field and getting healthy as soon as possible.”

Injuries play a role in every season, and this region has had it’s share of devastating ones and close calls this fall.

Jesuit multi-sport star Joe Hagopian, who committed to a baseball scholarship with New Mexico State, tore an ACL during the Holy Bowl against Christian Brothers in September in a goal-line collision. He had surgery on Tuesday and vowed, “I’ll be back better than ever.”

“I start rehab (Friday) and I’m ready to get my knee healthy and back into baseball shape,” he said. “My spirits are up.”

In Placer County, there was an anxious moment when Granite Bay leader Evan Tattersall was carted off the field against Folsom on Sept. 29. The Cal-bound senior fullback/linebacker is fine, coach Jeff Evans said. The bye week allowed him to catch his breath.

“He is a go this week,” said Evans, whose fifth-ranked Grizzlies will host No. 2 Oak Ridge in a big Sierra Foothill League contest Friday. “He’s a tough kid. He leaves it all out on the field, so he was a little bit gassed.”

No. 3 Inderkum has not been at full strength all season as multiple players have dealt with shoulder, knee and ankle issues.

“It’s part of the game, and you just keep going because no one is going to feel sorry for us,” Tigers coach Terry Stark said.

The loss of Jordan marks the area’s most significant. Elk Grove started 0-2 after bruising losses to powerhouses Inderkum and Serra of San Mateo, allowing 52 and 41 points, respectively. Life was good for the Herd after beating Lincoln of Stockton 48-21 to cap nonleague play, and then Davis 52-31 and Grant 40-31 in the Delta.

But the Herd were in over their heads against surging Jesuit, which has won four consecutive games after starting with losses to No. 1 Folsom and No. 5 Granite Bay.

Elk Grove hosts Pleasant Grove on Friday and closes the regular season with Monterey Trail, Franklin and Sheldon. A minimum of four Delta teams will advance to the playoffs.

The defending league champion Thundering Herd won 12 or more games four times since 2011 under previous coach Chris Nixon.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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