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An advanced look at Quarry Bowl II

Whitney High could have the edge in this one
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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Tickets for the 2011 Quarry Bowl to be held at Whitney High School football stadium, Friday, went on sale Wednesday and likely sold out within hours. This is only the second anniversary of this game and already it’s taken on a Super Bowl-like fever. To put it into perspective, it is a high school football game. To put it another way, it’s a game between cross-town rivals. The city of Rocklin is not afraid of competition, in fact it’s relished in this community. Whether it be for a state championship, or bragging rights, it’s inspiring just to be involved. ” I think that this is a pretty cool rivalry and gets the fans excited,” said Rocklin High football head coach Greg Benzel. “We’re excited about the game.” The Thunder comes into the Quarry Bowl with a 1-1 record. Last year Rocklin won rather decisively, 48-19. They were led by quarterback Jimmy Laughrea, who threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns. He has since graduated and headed to Boise State University. This year the ball would seem to be in Whitney High’s court. The Wildcats are 1-0 and have a quarterback destined for the University of Oregon, and a couple other players who have yet to decide where they’ll play in 2012. “We’ve only had one game,” said Whitney High football head coach Mike Gimenez, “and we don’t know what some of these kids can and can’t do.” As true as that is, he’s got a pretty good idea of what his quarterback Jake Rodrigues can do. In last year’s Quarry Bowl he threw for 333 yards, and rushed for 46. In truth, the ground game was where Rocklin dominated. This year it’s hard to tell with Whitney having played only one game, but Benzel is aware of what the Wildcats could bring to the table. “Whitney is a very well coached team and will execute well,” he said. “They have talented individuals on that team and they are very dangerous.” Coach Gimenez was reserved as to his team’s talents. There is no question players like Rodriques, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, Thaddeus Cox, and Cory Palin are game-changing players. As seniors, this could well be their statement year; however, this particular four could have a lot more football ahead of them. For many, high school football will be the end of the line. Coaches Gimenez and Benzel both know that talent comes in and talent goes out. “Every year is a new year, kids are new” said Gimenez of prep football. “It’s going to be an emotional game for the players.” Regardless of how this game comes out, it very likely will be entertaining and exciting for the fans to watch. It’s anybody’s guess as to whether or not Whitney will get the opportunity to display the granite trophy in its administrative lobby for the remainder of this school year, and this will only be the second game for the Wildcats this season. There is still plenty of football to be played in 2011. This game will be temporarily forgotten when the focus turns to a league title, or potential section championship. But for certain, the memories will come flooding back in 2012 when it’s time again to meet head-to-head in the Quarry Bowl. Both teams are nursing some minor injuries, but only Rocklin linebacker TJ Jones is definitely out of the lineup. Also, Benzel said his quarterback, junior Daniel Kniffin should be back after missing the Oak Ridge game last week. E-mail Placer Herald Sports at jiml@goldcountrymedia.com