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Rocklin outlasts Del Oro in championship

Cummings leads Thunder to first section title
By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
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DAVIS — Jackson Cummings did all he could on both sides of the ball to prevent Del Oro High from mounting one more shocking postseason comeback. Rocklin’s senior tailback ran for 235 yards and two first-half touchdowns, then intercepted a pass in the final minutes to ice a 21-14 win over the No. 8 Golden Eagles in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship Friday night before more than 8,000 at UC Davis. The Thunder defensive line held in check Bryce Pratt, Cummings’ Sierra Foothill League counterpart. Pratt, the catalyst behind a Del Oro offense that failed to find any rhythm, finished with a season-low 64 yards on 18 carries in a steady rain. “You’ve got to give credit to their d-line,” Eagles head coach Casey Taylor said. “They really took us out of our run game. We just couldn’t get going offensively. Our defense played great and kept us in it, but their defense shut us down. We couldn’t get Bryce going and that was the key to the game.” Without its reliable ground attack, Del Oro (11-3) was forced to take to the air. Junior quarterback Max Magleby completed 7 of 17 passes for 65 yards and threw three second-half interceptions, tying his season-high from last week’s 43-42 semifinal thriller over Folsom. Magleby threw picks on consecutive drives late in the fourth quarter. “We got in a position where we were backed up and had to throw it a lot in the rain and they were just sitting on our passes,” Taylor said. “It just didn’t work out for us. We tried a bunch of different plays and different angles, and it comes down to making some plays up front. We just didn’t make them.” After the teams traded punts in the early going, Cummings got No. 2 Rocklin (14-0) on the scoreboard with a 5-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. Pratt answered with a 6-yard scoring scamper less than three minutes later. Cummings needed only 40 seconds to break that tie with a 1-yard touchdown dive, but Pratt matched it again with a 29-yard scoring run with 7:33 left in the half. Thunder junior quarterback Jimmy Laughrea’s 29-yard scoring strike to senior wide receiver Tiger Sorenson two minutes before the intermission would hold up as the decisive score. Rocklin’s defense forced Del Oro to punt on three second-half possessions and intercepted passes on the Eagles’ other three. “The offense won a lot of games for us this year and there wasn’t anything that would have stopped them from playing their butts off,” said Blake Landry, Del Oro’s senior middle linebacker. “Rocklin has a fast, team-tackling defense and they all get to the ball.” Pratt’s previous season-low rushing performance came in a 49-0 win over Roseville on Oct. 23, when he carried 18 times for 113 yards. In Friday’s title tilt, the senior lost yardage on seven runs and ran for no gain twice. “Our defense gave us plenty of opportunities to take care of business on offense, but we just didn’t convert,” senior center Eddie Love said. “We were just a little tiny bit away from each block. Each play was right there. You’re working out since January and this is the one thing you’ve got on your mind the whole time. It’s tough.” Del Oro missed the playoffs entirely last year for the first time this decade. The Eagles rallied past top seed St. Mary’s and No. 4 Folsom this postseason to reach the championship. “They’ve accomplished so much this year, but obviously tonight was the one we really wanted and didn’t get,” Taylor said. “Going from 4-6 last year to the section final, I’m proud of them, and not just on the field. They’ve done so much in the community and on campus that I’m really proud of. Tonight wasn’t our night, but they’re a special group and I’m really going to miss them.”