Rocklin begins SFL campaign at Nevada Union

By: Staff report
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After a week off, the Rocklin High School football team will open its run for the Sierra Foothill League title by taking on Nevada Union in Grass Valley. The Miners were also idle last week. Highly ranked at the beginning of the season, Nevada Union (3-2) has suffered losses at the hands of Pleasant Grove and Elk Grove. They’ve defeated McQueen, Grant and Chico. The Miners have been averaging more than 350 yards of offense with a balanced rushing and passing attack. They’ve also averaged a little less than 30 points a game, although Elk Grove handed them a 43-19 setback Sept. 21. NU senior quarterback Kyle Cota has been fairly efficient completing almost 59 percent of his passes. He has thrown for 12 touchdowns in five games and has given up only one interception. The Miners have two solid running backs in seniors Tanner Vallejo and Hank Humphers. The 6-foot 3-inch, 225 pound Vallejo has carried 32 times for 229 yards. Ironically, His best game came in the loss to Elk Grove when he gained 66 yards on seven totes. Humphers (6-2, 195) had his breakout game against Chico gaining 93 yards in 14 touches. He’s also caught seven passes, one for 84 yards. He has four touchdowns to his credit and totaled 223 yards in 37 carries. Both Vallejo and Humphers also see time on defense. At linebacker, Vallejo averages seven tackles per contest. After their convincing win over Inderkum, the Thunder could be well on their way to improving on their 2-3 record. Against teams ranked in the top 25 of the Sacramento Bees’ poll, they have scored 84 points and given up 95. In their last three games they’ve won two and lost one by a point. Of issue could be the return of senior quarterback Daniel Kniffin. Kniffin was injured in the second game of the season but indicated he would be back for start of league. In spite of his four interceptions, Kniffin’s completion percentage is greater than 60 percent. Doing a superb job of filling in has been junior QB Logan Webb. Webb has thrown for 544 yards and eight touchdowns to help Rocklin gain its two victories. He has thrown no interceptions, although some potential picks have been dropped. Rocklin has a superb receiving corps in Dom Giampaoli, Cory Burmester and Spencer Gregg. They have combined for 61 catches, 810 yards and 10 TDs. Rocklin’s defense is the rock of the team. Anchored by senior Sam Woods the young Thunder have begun to gel. Although the return of senior running back Raymon Kendall has helped spark the club’s ground game, more work needs to be done. The Thunder are averaging less than three yards per carry and have but two rushing touchdowns. Game time in Grass Valley is set for 7:30 p.m., junior varsity game at 5:30.