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Oak Ridge defense outlasts Rocklin defense in win

Trojans stay undefeated
By: Jim Linsdau/Placer Herald Sports Editor
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ROCKLIN _ It was a battle in the trenches with neither team wanting to budge but the slip factor went in Oak Ridge’s favor as they got past Rocklin 16-7 in a non-league battle at Thunder Stadium on what turned out to be a cool and breezy Friday night. The first hiccough came in the second quarter after Rocklin stubbornly denied the Trojans a score after it appeared Oak Ridge’s Josh Wellman had tallied six on a 12-yard run. A penalty negated the play and the Thunder held after that. However, on a second and nine from Rocklin’s 32-yard line Thunder quarterback Daniel Kniffin’s pass sailed into the hands of linebacker Thomas Mahlman who returned it for a touchdown with just 37 seconds left in the first half. Ryan Lamb added the extra point to give the Trojans the halftime lead. “It does feel good to get past a very good team in the Rocklin Thunder,” said Oak Ridge head coach Eric Cavaliere. “That is a quality football team. It just happened we played with them tonight.” Cavaliere had high praise for his defense, but was also pleased with the tenacity of his offense. Rocklin came back in the third quarter and went on a sustained 46-yard drive culminated by Patrick Ryan’s 5-yard TD run. Matt Streeter added the kick to knot the score at 7-7. But the tables would turn for good when the Thunder failed to get out of the shadow of their own goalposts and had to punt from their 10-yard line. On fourth down, the snap sailed over the punter’s head and out of the end zone for a safety. It wasn’t the end of the scoring, but it was the end of the contest. Early in the fourth quarter, Oak Ridge ended any chances Rocklin would get those opportunities when a 38-yard pass into the end zone from quarterback Jason Samuels was tipped into the air. Receiver Jacob Sipes made an acrobatic catch of the ball while falling backward for the final score. “Our defense played very well,” said Rocklin head coach Greg Benzel. “The reality is that we gave them nine points, our defense only allowed seven, basically. “Offensively, Sam (Woods) kind of said it. He did a nice job of saying we’ve got to start earning our opportunities.” To put a dash of salt in the Thunder’s wounds, Kniffin was injured late in the game while trying to rally his troops. Kniffin fell awkwardly on his right arm, his throwing arm, and had to leave the game. Rocklin (0-2) hosts the Quarry Bowl next week against cross-town rival Whitney High (2-0) next Friday night in Thunder Stadium. Oak Ridge (2-0) is schedule to host Washington of Fremont. Oak Ridge 16, Rocklin 7 Trojans 0 7 2 7 – 16 Thunder 0 0 7 0 – 7 1st QTR No Score 2nd QTR OR – Mahlman 32 interception return (Lamb kick) :37 3rd QTR R – Ryan 5 run (Streeter kick) 5:15 OR – Safety snap out of end zone 1:07 4th QTR OR – Sipes 38 pass from Samuels (Lamb kick) 10:18 Total Net Yards – OR_210. R_219 Rushes-yards – OR_80. R_77 Passing – OR_130. R_142 Comp-Att-Int – OR_12-22-0. R_16-30-2 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING _ OR, B. Martin 14-41, J. Wellman 10-8, J. Hallare 2-3, J. Samuels 4-28. R P. Ryan 7-35, TD, D. Kniffin 6-17, S. Gonzales 10-13, J. Gurnaby 1-12. PASSING _ OR_J. Samuels 12-32-130, TD. R_D. Kniffin 16-31-135, 2 INT, L. Webb 0-3. RECEIVING _ OR_B. Spain 4-47, T. Buenzli 1-9, B. Buenzli 1 (-1), J. Wellman 2-25, J. Hallare 1-5, R. Dwelley 1-8, B Martin 1 (-1), J. Sipes 1-38, TD. R_D. Giampaoli 3-34, C. Burmester 7-46, A. Goyhenetche 2-15, S. Gregg 2-19, P. Ryan 1-13, J. Amader 1-15.