Joe Davidson

Prep football notes: Sportsmanship emerges as defining theme this season

Rocklin’s Riley Clark carries the ball in the first quarter Friday against Folsom. Clark later injured his shoulder, and the No. 3 Thunder lost to the No. 1 Bulldogs 56-21.
Rocklin’s Riley Clark carries the ball in the first quarter Friday against Folsom. Clark later injured his shoulder, and the No. 3 Thunder lost to the No. 1 Bulldogs 56-21. Special to The Sacramento Bee

Sportsmanship has defined this high school football season amid a rash of devastating injuries, the painful other theme of the campaign.

The respect and appreciation carried well past Friday night’s showcase game in Placer County, where top-ranked Folsom beat No. 3 Rocklin 56-21 in a game that was 14-14 in the second quarter.

Dressed in game pants, a sweat-soaked T-shirt and smudged eye black, Rocklin junior defensive tackle Chase Hatada sought out Folsom co-coaches Kris Richardson and Troy Taylor to offer kudos before they boarded the team bus back home.

“Great game, and I don’t know if I’ll face guys as physical and tough as your guys again this year,” Hatada said.

Taylor and Richardson wished Hatada well in projecting him as a Division I college prospect. Moments later, Rocklin defensive coordinator Jason Adams, in a pink breast cancer awareness T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, hustled out of the locker room to chat with the Folsom coaches. He said Folsom was the most physical team the Thunder had faced.

“Really impressed with how hard you guys play; the best defense we’ve seen this year,” Taylor told Adams. The coaches also talked about how good Sacramento-area football is, with Adams and Richardson linked to the Bay Area and both programs having State CIF Bowl pedigrees.

The Folsom coaches also expressed disappointment for Rocklin’s mounting injuries, from star quarterback Max O’Rourke going down for the season with a broken leg Oct. 10 to senior leaders in running back Riley Clark (shoulder) and safety Garrett Kauppila (knee) going down Friday. Kauppila spent four hours in the emergency room Friday night and all he learned was he didn’t have a broken leg, “which we already knew,” he said. He will see an orthopedic surgeon Monday.

O’Rourke has been moved by the outpouring of support after the injury revealed two benign tumors in his leg. He is expected to make a full recovery. Members of the Granite Bay team, players and coaches, signed a get-well card for O’Rourke. The teams meet Friday.

“That was really amazing,” O’Rourke said of the gesture. “I loved that coach Ernie Cooper even signed it. A lot of class.”

Rocklin receiver Brady Mays, who caught a touchdown pass against Folsom, said the Thunder has drawn strength through adversity.

“We needed a game like Folsom to give us a motivational edge moving forward, but the injuries are definitely a setback,” he said. “We have a lot of depth, and we have a lot of guys to play for now. Everyone is responding.”

Frantic finish – Alex Edelmayer kicked two field goals, including the decisive 20-yarder with three seconds remaining, to boost No. 12 Christian Brothers past El Camino 35-32 in a Capital Athletic League thriller. The Falcons (7-1, 3-0) close CAL play against Casa Roble and Vista del Lago, with the Vista game likely for the outright championship.

Chris Guillen had 480 yards of offense for CBS, including 351 passing yards and a 79-yard touchdown throw to Tariq Richardson. Jonatan Gihl had 121 reeiving yards, 12 tackles, a safety and an interception.

Kickoff returners – Tyler Brendel opened No. 7 Granite Bay’s 47-0 victory over No. 15 Woodcreek with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Not far away about the same time, Ben Zahniser of Roseville had a school-record 99-yard kickoff return for a score in a 58-24 win over Whitney.

Woodcreek injury update – Woodcreek kickoff returner Kenneth McGloan suffered a broken leg in the third quarter and was taken off the field in an ambulance. Coach Jason Stowers visited McGloan in the hospital Saturday morning.

DC express – Deshawn Collins rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns in No. 2 Grant’s 42-27 victory over Sheldon. He has 1,297 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Pacers. Donovan Brown ran for a 60-yard score for Grant (8-0, 5-0), which can clinch at least a tie for the Delta League championship with a victory Friday over Davis (2-6, 1-4). A showdown against No. 4 Jesuit (7-1, 5-0) looms for the Pacers in Week 10.

Breakthrough victory – Foothill earned its first on-field victory of the season, 27-26 in overtime over Lincoln in Pioneer Valley League play. Xavier Small threw the tying touchdown pass, and Larry Alford made the winning extra point after Lincoln missed one. Foothill (2-6) was awarded an opening-night forfeit victory over Union Mine after the El Dorado school learned of an ineligible player. Foothill went 1-9 last season under first-year coach Tim Trokey.

Cougars’ uprising – El Dorado rallied from a 20-10 halftime deficit on the road to beat Cordova 38-26 and inched closer to the program’s first outright league championship since 1983.

Nick Bonniksen passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns, and Tyler Clanin, Cody Miller and Colby Harrington accounted for second-half touchdowns. Carter Meyers had a second-half interception that helped swing momentum for the Cougars (8-0), who lead the Sierra Valley Conference as the lone unbeaten at 3-0.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.