The Quarry Bowl experience

By: Jim Linsdau/Placer Herald Sports Editor
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This year’s Quarry Bowl offered the opportunity to introduce my new sports correspondent Joshua Gutierrez to the pageantry of this great event. It goes without saying he was impressed. It was at Rocklin High this year, but whether there or at Whitney it has quickly evolved into one of the area’s most exciting games. Quite a feat considering it is only three years old. I don’t know how many fans were there but the stands, and added end zone seating, were all full. I suppose it could be considered unique since the Rocklin and Whitney campuses are in relatively close proximity, but it makes one wonder why other communities haven’t created something similar. Although the competition is fierce when these two schools meet, time is spent reminding players and fans that these are high-school age athletes and not pros in a Super Bowl. Naturally, young emotions run high so it’s important to point out it is one game among many and not a lifetime of achievement. The respect the students from the two schools have for one another was pointed out to me last year by senior basketball player Joie Camalo. The Thunder had just defeated Whitney 60-36. She said she and her teammates looked at it as a good win, but nothing that couldn’t have gone the other way under different circumstances. Rocklin won the Quarry Bowl and the players were understandably jubilant about it, but probably more from the fact they’d just broken their two-game losing streak than having laid claim to the granite trophy for a year. A win is great anytime. Both Rocklin coach Greg Benzel and Whitney’s Michael Gimenez were matter-of-fact about the game. It was a preseason matchup in preparation for league play, but a great way to help get athletes prepared for “big games.” Playing before a huge crowd can be intimidating for any player that hasn’t experienced it. Both clubs hope to make it onto the big stage when the postseason rolls around. They won’t meet since they’re in different divisions, but they will already have had that “Super Bowl” experience under their belts. High school athletics has grown in stature and that has its good points. It’s important prep sports not be blown out of proportion but it can help students planning to take their “games” to the next level. And that goes for whatever role they play – even being a spectator and fan. Joshua asked if he could do more games at Rocklin, which I would not deny him. It was a bigger stage for him as well, and it’s likely he’ll experience the atmosphere at Whitney too. The Rocklin community is to be commended for the way it supports their schools, and it’s not just the parents. It’s the spirit of competition that motivates the citizenry and the desire to see both teams do well. That happened last Friday night. Yes, Rocklin won but Whitney did not go away a loser. Contests like the Quarry Bowl are win-win all around.