Joe Davidson

Football notes: Rio Linda gets defensive in pursuit of conference title

Mike Morris stepped down last winter as the Rio Linda High School football coach after a 23-year run dotted with championship success.

Also the athletic director, he hired Justin Reber to coach the Knights. And Reber last week returned the favor by hiring Morris as the Knights’ defensive coordinator. Ranked 13th, Rio Linda is in the thick of the Tri-County Conference title race, and the Knights will play at No. 6 Inderkum on Halloween night in what is expected to be the league championship game.

“It’s been great having him,” said Reber, who relinquished his role as the defensive coordinator but still calls the plays on offense. “To watch how Mike structures a practice, to see our kids get continually better, how he works with people ... it’s nice mentoring under him. I’m learning a lot, and now I can just concentrate on the offense. We feel like we have a team that can make a championship run, and having Mike really helps.”

Reber nudged Morris after a 38-35 victory over Cosumnes Oaks on Sept. 12, again two weeks later after a 27-13 loss to River Valley on Sept. 26 and even more after Rio Linda held off Yuba City 42-40 on Oct. 3. With Morris in place Friday, the Knights crushed Woodland 70-13. Morris said his job is to “screw things up” for a 6-1 team.

Oh, brothers – Logan Woods of Del Oro was presented with the “Tackle for the Cure” award on Cancer Awareness Night following a 35-14 victory over Oak Ridge on Friday that keeps the Golden Eagles’ postseason hopes alive. A 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior linebacker, Woods is the younger brother of Tanner Woods, The Bee’s 2013 co-Defensive Player of the Year. Tyler Meteer, who shared the Defensive Player of the Year award with Woods at Del Oro, also has a younger brother playing for the Golden Eagles – linebacker-tight end and team captain Grant Meteer.

Unsung runner – Tyler Clanin has emerged as the top rusher for No. 16 El Dorado. A year after running for 457 yards and six touchdowns, Clanin has 873 yards (9.3 per carry) and 13 scores this season. His 287 rushing yards and three touchdowns in Friday’s 60-43 win over Rosemont helped keep the Cougars (7-0, 2-0) the lone unbeaten team in the Sierra Valley Conference.

“Very smooth athlete and a wonderful kid,” El Dorado coach Joe Volek said. “He doesn’t say a word on the field. Just plays.”

Helmet-to-helmet clarification – Pleasant Grove quarterback Jake Ford was knocked out of Friday’s 42-14 loss to No. 5 Elk Grove on a shoulder-to-shoulder hit from Manny Scott-Anderson, not a helmet-to-helmet blow as previously reported by The Bee. Film and photos reviewed by The Bee show that it was not a helmet-to-helmet shot. No flags were thrown for targeting, either.

Ford experienced neck pains and was taken to UC Davis Medical Center and later released. Pleasant Grove coach Russell Gardner said, “Overall, the Elk Grove player made a good play, not intentionally dirty. Jake is OK.”

Getting his due – Dejon Glover endured two winless seasons at Natomas, and now the all-purpose senior is enjoying a 5-2 rebound by the Nighthawks. He leads Natomas with 606 rushing yards and five touchdowns, including 232 yards and three scores in a 50-22 win over Highlands on Sept. 19. He averages five tackles per game, is third in the state in punt returns (31.5 yards per return) and leads the region with 723 return yards.

Natomas plays unbeaten Capital Christian on Friday in a key Golden Empire League game. The Cougars are led by their own all-purpose star, Justice Shelton-Mosley, who compiled 246 yards with four touchdowns as the Cougars beat Dixon 49-14 on Friday for the school’s first 7-0 start.

Et cetera – No. 19 Burbank and No. 20 Vista del Lago returned to The Bee’s Top 20 after both teams fell out of the poll with 0-3 starts. Burbank, which has won four in a row, is tied with Sacramento atop the Metropolitan Conference standings. Vista, which has won five straight, is in first place in the Capital Athletic League.

▪ Patrick Walker and Bryce Abshear scored on defensive plays for No. 8 Franklin in a 49-13 victory over Davis on Friday.

▪ Luis Gomez of Capital Christian leads the area with 111 tackles in seven games.

▪ Isaac Cisneros of Del Campo tops the region with 21.2 tackles per game.

▪ Phillip White of Bradshaw Christian is third in the area with 12 sacks, including two in Friday’s 36-28 victory over Golden Sierra.

▪ John Horn of Yuba City leads the area with seven interceptions, followed by Edward Ware of Capital Christian with six.

▪ Kardo Ballesteros of Franklin is the area’s leading scorer among kickers with 106 points.

▪ Running back Colby Carrera of Vista del Lago leads the area with 21 touchdowns.

▪ Kevin Loheit of El Camino tops the section with nine field goals.


Last week’s ranking in parentheses

1. Folsom (1) 7-0

2. Grant (2) 7-0

3. Rocklin (3) 7-0

4. Jesuit (4) 6-1

5. Elk Grove (5) 5-2

6. Inderkum (6) 7-1

7. Granite Bay (7) 5-2

8. Franklin (8) 5-2

9. Del Oro (10) 3-5

10. Sacramento (12) 6-1

11. Monterey Trail (9) 5-2

12. Christian Brothers (14) 6-1

13. Rio Linda (16) 6-1

14. Oak Ridge (11) 4-4

15. Woodcreek (13) 5-2

16. El Dorado (17) 7-0

17. Bear River (18) 6-1

18. Cosumnes Oaks (20) 5-2

19. Burbank (–) 4-3

20. Vista del Lago (–) 5-3

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.


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