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Thunder offense continues to roll; Rocklin tops Las Lomas 62-35

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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The points just keep coming for Rocklin High’s varsity football team and the visiting Las Lomas Knights were the latest victim on Friday night. The Thunder crushed Las Lomas 62-35 as Rocklin senior tailback Jackson Cummings ran 25 times for 170 yards and five touchdowns. Rocklin, 3-0 on the season, has now scored 143 points for an average of just under 48 per game. The Thunder opened the season with victories over Oak Ridge (40-32) and Nevada Union (41-36). Rocklin has punted just once this year and hasn’t punted at all in the last two games. Cummings, also the starting point guard for the Thunder’s championship basketball squad, could have had six touchdowns, but a 48-yard touchdown reception was called back because of a clipping penalty in the third quarter. He caught four passes for 59 yards in the victory. “(Being 3-0) is fun, especially after last season,” said Cummings, referring to Rocklin’s 4-6 record and the fact that he missed a large chunk of that year with a groin injury. “I love playing football and basketball but there is nothing better than Friday nights under the lights.” Cummings had big holes to run through all night. “It felt really good. After a couple games of kind of mixing it up (pass and run), because we have such an explosive offense, it was nice to let loose (on the ground),” Cummings said. “The line was blocking for days . . . Our line is great.” Rocklin has two more games before Sierra Foothill League play begins on Oct. 16. The Thunder will host Skyline of Oakland next Friday and visit Napa the following week. Las Lomas is now 1-3 on the season but the other two losses came to football powerhouses Archbishop Mitty (41-7) and Marin Catholic of Kentfield (28-19). The Knights beat Northgate of Walnut Creek 35-10 on Sept. 19. Rocklin received the opening kickoff on Friday night against the Knights and turned the ball over on downs at the Las Lomas’ 45-yard-line. Not including a 31-second drive to close out the first half, Rocklin scored a touchdown on every possession for the rest of the contest. Las Lomas fumbled the ball on its second play and Rocklin senior Trevor Cooper recovered near midfield with 7:32 left in the first quarter. Cummings scored on a 13-yard run about one minute later to put Rocklin up 7-0. The Knights then tied the game with a six-play, 70-yard drive but Rocklin’s Kyle Garvella set up Cummings’ second touchdown run of the quarter (two yards) with a huge kickoff return. The score put Rocklin up 14-7 with 1:21 left in the first quarter. Rocklin junior quarterback Jimmy Laughrea threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Holden Huff to put Rocklin up 21-7 with 7:12 left in the first half. The Knights made it 21-14 when quarterback Lucas Gorton ran in from 11 yards out. Rocklin then responded with Cummings’ third touchdown run of the half, this one coming from 55 yards out with 3:17 left in the half. The Knights scored again with 34 seconds left in the half, (five-yard run by Marquis Waters) making the score 28-21 Rocklin at the break. Rocklin appeared to be in control in the first half but led by only a touchdown. Thunder senior Nick Montano then came through with a big hit on the kickoff to start the third quarter. He pinned the Knights at their own 16. “It’s really important on special teams to set the tone and Nick did that,” Rocklin coach Greg Benzel said. “He came out and set the tone.” Two plays later Rocklin’s Cooper recovered his second fumble of the game and Cummings ran in his fourth touchdown of the game (one yard) six plays later. This put Rocklin up 35-21 with 8:17 left in the third quarter – and the Thunder continued to roll throughout the second half. Laughrea ran in a two-yard touchdown with 1:44 left in the third quarter to put the Thunder up 42-21. Cummings (eight-yard run), Brian MacDonald (24-yard run) and Scott Polaske (99-yard interception return) each scored for the Thunder in the fourth quarter. Rocklin led 62-28 before Waters ran in a 63-yard touchdown with just seven seconds left in the game. Rocklin senior Vincent Barrow converted 8-of-9 extra points, the only miss coming after Rocklin had a 15-yard celebration penalty on a fourth-quarter touchdown. Laughrea completed 18-of-25 passes for 234 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. His top targets were Tiger Sorenson (four catches, 71 yards), Cummings (four for 59) and Garvella (four for 32). Waters ran 18 times for 140 yards and three touchdowns for the Knights. Rocklin’s junior varsity team (1-2) beat Las Lomas 22-0.