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Pioneer no match for surging Wildcats

Rodrigues runs, passes over Patriots
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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Even a light rainfall in the fourth quarter couldn’t dampen Whitney High’s Friday night as the Wildcats ripped the Pioneer Patriots, 48-21, and Cosumnes Oaks gifted the maroon-and-gold with one more home game. There was no lightning that accompanied the rain, but there certainly was on the field. After being held to just seven points in the first quarter, Whitney began to slice through the Patriot defense butter in the second period. The ‘Cats hung 28 more points on the board while the Patriots watched. “Their O line, like they were strong, but they weren’t really fast off the ball. They were weak in the speed sense so we could get them real easy on the D line,” said Whitney lineman Thaddeus Cox, who plays both ways and on some special teams. “And the same with their defensive line, they didn’t really do much. They just stood there, they didn’t really move around too much.” That allowed Cox and company to open big holes for the running backs, and give quarterback Jake Rodrigues plenty of time to throw. Rodrigues ran for one touchdown, and passed for three more. He spread the wealth around hitting wide receivers Connor Graves and Corey Palin, and tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick for TDs in that decisive second quarter. Graves catch was good for 26 yards, Palin 79, and Cope-Fitzpatrick was on the receiving end of a 20-yard strike. “I guess it was the right night, we had fun,” said Rodrigues, who said the club worked all week on getting the Wildcat’s passing game in shape. “We got our tight end in the game a lot more, and he’s a great target.” Indeed, at 6-5, 235 pounds, Cope-Fitzpatrick is hard to miss. The tight end had two catches for a total of 45 yards. Pioneer’s grind-it-out offense helped keep Rodrigues and friends off the field in the third quarter, but the Pat’s lack of explosiveness took too long and produced too little. In quarter three, Pioneer ran 31 plays to Whitney’s three, and scored just six points. Five plays into the fourth quarter, the Patriots scored again. But the Wildcats came back to life to score twice more and eliminate Pioneer from the Sac-Joaquin Division III Section playoffs. It was reported at games end that 14-seed Cosumnes Oaks had upset No. 3 seed Manteca, guaranteeing Whitney home-field advantage for the second round of the playoffs. That game is scheduled for Nov. 18, 7 p.m. Whitney 48, Pioneer 21 Patriots 0 7 7 7 – 21 Wildcats 7 28 0 13 – 48 Scoring 1st Quarter Whi – C Graves, 32 run, L Urena kick, 11:00 2nd Quarter Whi – J Rodrigues to C Graves, 26 pass, L Urena kick, 10:36 Pio – J Mahoney, 40 run, M Chavarria kick, 8:32 Whi – J Rodrigues, 2 run, L Urena kick, 7:22 Whi – J Rodrigues to C Palin, 79 pass, 3:46 Whi – J Rodrigues to J Cope-Fitzpatrick, 20 pass 0:42 3rd Quarter Pio – J Mahoney, 13 run, kick failed, 5:22 4th Quarter Pio – M Chavarria, 1 run, PAT J Ortiz run, 9:43 Whi – J Rodrigues, 1 run, kick failed, 8:05 Whi – J Powell, 9 run, L Urena, 4:14 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS PASSING Pioneer - M Chavarria 2-12, 22. Whitney - J Rodrigues 9-12, 261, 3. RUSHING Pioneer - J Mahoney 21-171, 1, R Moore 11-38, M Chavarria 1-(-5), 1, J Schoch 20-61, J Ortiz 3-18, 2-point PAT. Whitney - J Powell 6-99, 1, C Graves 9-84, 1, J Rodrigues 15-89, 1, S Choisser 4-10, R Giacomini 1-4. RECEIVING Pioneer - D Jimenez 1-13, R Moore 1-9. Whitney - J Cope-Fitzpatrick 2-45, 1, C Palin 4-125, 1, C Graves 2-59, 1, T Torres 1-23. First Downs - Pioneer 17, Whitney 16. Penalties - Pioneer 5-64, Whitney 8-65.