Rocklin makes a statement by pounding Nevada Union to a TBy: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
GRASS VALLEY — Combine a two-quarterback, shotgun-heavy offense with pinpoint execution. Throw in an exceptional night for the defensive front seven. On top of that, make it a Sierra Foothill League opener.
That right there was the recipe for Rocklin High School’s impressive night.
The Thunder trumped Nevada Union 35-9 on Friday in the Miners’ house, on the Miners’ homecoming night. Thunder quarterbacks Logan Webb and Daniel Kniffin threw two touchdown passes each and combined for 218 yards passing with no interceptions.
“It was a weird strategy,” Webb said. “We knew we could score a lot of points, but we had a set where I would come in, while Daniel would play receiver, and it kind of just escalated into me and him just switching off. It was crazy all around.”
As for the defense, Rocklin (3-3 overall, 1-0 SFL) held Nevada Union’s trademark Wing-T to 44 yards rushing and sacked quarterback Kyle Cota eight times. The Miners (3-3, 0-1) failed to score on the Thunderous defense until late in the game. Nevada Union’s only other points came on a safety in the first quarter.
“The defense was really something,” Rocklin head coach Greg Benzel said. “NU runs the ball, and our defense basically came out and said, ‘You’re not going to run the ball on us.’ That’s a pretty big statement.”
Cota was constantly on the move and completed less than 60 percent of his passes. Tanner Vallejo led the Miners in rushing with 20 yards. Overall, Nevada Union averaged just under 1.5 yards per rush.
“It’s a combination (of schemes and matchups) that our guys believe,” Benzel said. “They play hard. They believe they can play with anybody.”
Kniffin had the hot hand early, completing a six-yard touchdown pass to Jared Amader in the first quarter. Kniffin found Cory Burmester for a 13-yard score in the second period.
Kniffin was a sharp 12 of 14 for 137 yards, and Burmester posted a team-high 76 yards receiving on five receptions.
Webb took control from there, finding Dominic Giampaoli for a six-yard score near the end of the first half. Webb connected with tight end Jack Wittwer in the fourth quarter for the final touchdown pass, a four-yarder.
Second-string running back Skyler Gonzalez had an impressive showing at the end of the game by pulling off runs of 40 and 23 yards, the latter resulting in a touchdown.
Rocklin hopes to utilize its momentum against Granite Bay next week.
Rocklin remained undefeated with a 42-22 victory over Nevada Union. Max O’Rouke connected on two deep touchdown passes, including a 57-yarder to Blake Laurin.
ROCKLIN 35, NEVADA UNION 9
Rocklin 7 14 0 14 — 35
Nevada Union 2 0 0 7 — 9
Rock — Amader 6 pass from Kniffin (Mook kick)
NU — Safety, Vallejo
Rock — Burmester 13 pass from Kniffin (Mook kick)
Rock — Giampaoli 6 pass from Webb (Mook kick)
Rock — Wittwer 4 pass from Webb (Mook kick)
NU — Davis 5 pass from Cota (Sill kick)
Rock — Gonzalez 23 run (Mook kick)
RUSHING — Rocklin, Kendall 17-71, Kniffin 6-20, Gonzalez 4-69, Webb 3-minus 8, Ryan 1-3. Nevada Union, Cota 11-minus 12, Vallejo 7-20, Humphers 6-16, Berger 3-19, Murray 2-minus 4, Dickinson 1-5.
PASSING — Rocklin, Webb 8-16-0, 81; Kniffin 12-14-0, 137. Nevada Union, Cota 12-21-1, 145.
RECEIVING — Rocklin, Burmester 5-76, Giampaoli 5-40, Amader 4-39, Gregg 2-27, Van Roekel 1-10, Kniffin 1-7, Kendall 1-5, Wittwer 1-4. Nevada Union, Davis 6-104, Humphers 3-12, Berger 2-20, Dickinson 1-2.