Ryan Robards may have stumbled onto a new pregame ritual, though it’s an unsavory sort of deal.
The Elk Grove High School senior football star lost his lunch before Friday night’s game in Del Paso Heights, a victim of anxiety and big-game jitters, which also shows the young man is human since his play suggests otherwise.
Robards cleaned himself up and then cleaned the collective clocks of the Grant Pacers. Robards scored five of his six touchdowns every which way to ignite No. 3 Elk Grove’s stunning 42-7 rout of the No. 2 Pacers in a Delta League contest expected to be a rumble to the finish.
Only Robards rumbled, before the game and throughout. The region’s most versatile player who plays running back, safety and on special teams, opened the scoring with a 70-yard interception return for a score a moment into the game, then added a four-yard rushing touchdown, then scooped up a fumble and raced in from 10 yards out, then scored on a 75-yard punt return, then bolted up the middle for a 62-yard touchdown romp and then ended it with a simple one-yard plunge in the third quarter, his 176th and final yard of the night.
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He rushed for 176 yards, was strong at safety, punted and played on returns. In short, he’s a dynamic one-man gang.
“I did what I could,” Robards said simply. “I was throwing up beforehand ... so maybe I need to do it before every game. We had to come out fast and physical, and we did.”
Elk Grove (5-0, 2-0) flexed its considerable muscle in the trenches, a unit led by the “Hammerheads.” Excellent interior blocking created gaping holes, and a strong, active defense headed by coordinator Jeff Carlson bottled up a Grant team used to doing the punishing.
The “Hammerheads” are Lau Ta’amu, Jacob Cornelio, Trevor Reinwald, Diego Cervantes, Jon Pochop and tight end Jake Bellecci. They revel in the chance to hit the blocking sled each week for position coach Moe Loller, who was ecstatic after the game, saying: “Our guys did a great job. Best game by far.”
No. 1 Folsom 31, No. 4 Del Oro 0 in Folsom – Jake Jeffrey hit Roger Neal for a 91-yard touchdown and Brad Jenner for a 31-yard strike, and defensive leader Matt Torres had an interception and fumble recovery to set up scores for the Bulldogs (6-0, 2-0 Sierra Foothill League), who extended their state-leading regular-season winning streak to 37.
No. 7 Oak Ridge 38, No. 9 Rocklin 22 in El Dorado Hills – Ian Book rushed for three touchdowns and threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Quinten Graves-Mercado to lead the Trojans (5-1, 2-0) over the Thunder (3-2, 0-1) in the SFL contest on homecoming night.
No. 8 Antelope 59, Oakmont 13 in Antelope – Montel Aaron passed for 160 yards and three touchdowns and Elijah Dotson rushed for 155 and a score as the Titans (5-0, 2-0) crushed the Vikings (2-3, 0-2) in a Capital Valley Conference game. Antelope’s Davaughn Silver rushed for two touchdowns, including a 58-yarder, and Davaeon Johnson scored two touchdowns, including a 55-yard punt return.
No. 10 Franklin 24, Sheldon 7 at Sheldon High – Rahsaan York returned a fumble 25 yards for a touchdown after a Nike Som-Anya sack and forced fumble, and Jake Lopez threw two touchdown passes to lead the Wildcats (3-2, 1-1) over the Huskies (2-3, 0-2) in Delta play.
No. 13 Bear River 21, Sutter 14 in Lake of the Pines – Jason Voter’s 57-yard touchdown pass to Ben O’Lena with 3:50 to play put the Bruins (5-0) over the top against the Huskies (2-3) in the nonleague matchup of small-school standouts. O’Lena also caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from Voter and returned a fumble 23 yards for a score.
No. 14 Cosumnes Oaks 35, Roseville 0 in Elk Grove – Christian McFarland rushed for a 10-yard touchdown and caught 35- and 23-yard touchdown passes from Austin Greer to lead the Wolfpack (4-1, 2-0) over the Tigers (2-3, 0-2) in CVC action.
No. 18 Del Campo 40, No. 15 Whitney 39 in Fair Oaks – Ray Griffin caught a 91-yard touchdown pass from Ben Purcell, who passed for 337 yards, and Shea Larkin booted the extra point with 2:06 left to play as the Cougars (4-1, 2-0) rallied to defeat the Wildcats (3-2, 1-1) in another wild CVC game.
No. 17 Burbank 62, Laguna Creek 21 at Cosumnes River College – Michael Roots rushed for six touchdowns, and Erik Brown added two as the Titans (2-3, 2-0) defeated the Cardinals (2-3, 1-1) in a Metro Conference game. Calvin Spellman returned a kickoff 90 yards for Laguna Creek.
No. 20 Capital Christian 41, Aptos 13 in Rosemont – Jacob Norville threw four touchdown passes, three to D’Marcus Ross, and Ross rushed for a 49-yard score as the small-school Cougars (5-0) humbled the Division II Mariners (1-4) in a nonleague game.
Woodcreek 49, Nevada Union 17 in Roseville – Isaiah Ajayi and Tyler England each rushed for two touchdowns as the Timberwolves (5-1, 1-1) coasted past the Miners (1-5, 0-2) in SFL action. Woodcreek’s Kenny McGloan returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score, and Matt Miller had a 22-yard touchdown run.
Bella Vista 42, Ponderosa 34 in Fair Oaks – Andreas Litton rushed for three touchdowns to lead the Broncos (3-2, 1-1) over the Bruins (1-4, 0-2) in CVC play.
Pleasant Grove 32, Monterey Trail 26 at Monterey Trail – Darren Chism rushed for three touchdowns and Jake Ford added two to lead the Eagles (3-2, 2-1) over the Mustangs (3-2, 1-1) in the Delta League.
Dixon 21, Marysville 7 in Marysville – D’Lornn McMullen scored three touchdowns, including the backbreaker on a 27-yard run with 2:03 to play, as the Rams (5-1, 2-0) topped the Indians (5-1, 1-1) in a key Golden Empire League contest. Chase Tarr threw an 18-yard scoring strike to Noah Childers for Marysville.