Hunter Rodrigues wanted to continue playing but couldn’t overrule his coach, so the Whitney High School senior quarterback cheered on his backup.
After Rodrigues took a hit to the back of the helmet on a sneak Friday night against Oakmont, Wildcats coach Paul Doherty sat the quarterback “just to be safe.”
“It was a precaution, and it was a chance to give Josh (Daniels) a chance to play,” Doherty said. “And Hunter is a great teammate. He’s Josh’s biggest fan.”
The feelings are mutual. Rodrigues passed for four first-half touchdowns, and Daniels threw for four scores in the second half in a 56-25 win that kept No. 14 Whitney in the Capital Valley Conference title chase with No. 6 Antelope, No. 13 Del Campo and No. 16 Cosumnes Oaks.
“We were able to give Josh a chance,” Doherty said. “He’s pretty good, too, and looks the part.”
Rodrigues has passed for 1,977 yards – 329.5 a game – and 34 touchdowns with just three interceptions. His favorite targets are Devin Brocchini (51 receptions, 846 yards, 15 touchdowns) and Justin Kraft (30 catches, 454 yards, 13 touchdowns). The Wildcats finish the regular season against Roseville, Cosumnes Oaks and Antelope.
Whitney (5-2, 3-1) lost its opener 57-55 at No. 3 Oak Ridge and fell 40-39 at Del Campo on Oct. 2. Doherty raved about his team in general, starting with his team general.
“Hunter is special,” said Doherty, the first-year Whitney coach who came from Sacramento High after elevating the Dragons into a Division III power. “Great kid, great player, a coach’s dream.”
Grade-A linemen – Quarterback Montel Aaron and running backs Elijah Dotson and Davaughn Silver may carry the load for surging Antelope, but leading the charge is the offensive line: Zach Rickard, Tyrus Barnett, Lemuel Williams, Kyler Perkins and Jaelen Lewis, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound tackle with 13 scholarship offers.
“It starts with those guys,” Titans coach Matt Ray said.
In Friday’s 42-41 overtime win at Cosumnes Oaks, Silver ran for 186 yards and three touchdowns, Dotson rushed for 149 yards and one score, and Aaron hit Davaeon Johnson for two touchdown passes.
Special guest – Damien Chiasson-Larson, a 6-year-old youth football player in Davis, was the honorary captain for Davis High’s “Pink-Out” home game Friday night to promote breast cancer awareness.
Chiasson-Larson, whose brain-stem tumor is in remission, also dined with the Blue Davis earlier in the day.
Davis lost 60-21 to No. 9 Franklin, which was led by Jacob Lopez’s two touchdown passes and two rushing scores. Afterward, the Blue Devils presented the game ball to Chiasson-Larson and deemed him the ultimate winner.
Showdown time – The fun starts Thursday when No. 8 Rocklin visits top-ranked Folsom in a Sierra Foothill League game. Folsom, coming off a bye, has a state-leading 38-game regular-season winning streak, dating to 2011, and owns the state’s longest overall winning streak, 23 games.
Led by quarterback Jake Jeffrey, running backs Tre Green and Roger Neal and standout tackles Kooper Richardson and Jonah Williams, Folsom is ranked fifth in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and second in Northern California behind De La Salle by MaxPreps.
Rocklin is back at full strength with the return of standout defensive tackle Chase Hatada. Running back Evyn Holtz is coming off a four-touchdown effort in a 38-3 rout of Woodcreek on Friday.
Spartans roll – State No. 1 De La Salle blasted No. 8 Long Beach Poly 52-6 in a nonleague game, allowing just 83 yards and a kickoff return for a touchdown. Next for De La Salle is Del Oro on Friday in Concord. The Spartans have not lost to a NorCal team since 1991, a streak of 262 games, and are 27-0 all-time against the Sac-Joaquin Section and 6-0 against regional powers since 2012, beating Folsom and Del Oro twice each and Jesuit and Granite Bay once each.
Should De La Salle win its 25th consecutive North Coast Section championship, it will earn its sixth CIF State Open Division Bowl bid, this year at Sacramento State. Folsom, the defending CIF State Division I champion, will not become Open-worthy unless De La Salle stumbles down the stretch.
Folsom seeks an SFL repeat, a section championship four-peat and a CIF State D-I repeat.
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The Bee’s Top 20
2. Elk Grove
3. Oak Ridge
7. Granite Bay
12. Bear River
13. Del Campo
16. Cosumnes Oaks
17. River Valley
19. Christian Bros.
20. Cap. Christian