Rocklin football shellacks Woodcreek of Roseville without injured QB Max O'Rourke

By: Ike Dodson■of the Roseville Press Tribune
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The scoreboard overlooking Woodcreek High’s artificial turf football field ticked off the final seconds of Friday’s Sierra Foothill League showdown with Rocklin then immediately went dark.

On a night when Rocklin outplayed and outclassed the Timberwolves all over the field, the scoreboard operator wanted the 35-7 Thunder victory forgotten as soon as possible.

He could have pulled the plug two quarters early.

Rocklin scored three touchdowns in the final 8 minutes of the first half, rolling into the break with a 28-0 lead, despite the absence of injured quarterback Max O’Rourke and the difficulties of facing one-loss Woodcreek.

“They played for Max and they played hard for each other,” Rocklin coach Greg Benzel said. “Our defense did a nice job containing their athletes.

“The reality is that it’s a win, but we just have some high offensive expectations that we didn’t meet.”

Woodcreek (5-2 overall, 1-2 SFL) outgained Rocklin (7-0, 3-0) 303-208 in total yardage, but Rocklin intercepted two passes, returning one (by Dustin Howenstine) 55 yards for a touchdown. Howenstine also recovered a fumble when Jonah Wehrli sacked Isaiah Harborth.

William Floyd was 12 for 28 for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his first start. He threw a nine-yard touchdown to Wes Preece and found Evyn Holtz open on a 46-yard screen pass to the house.

Holtz also ran in one-yard score after a 47-yard completion to Blake Laurin (five catches, 84 yards).

“We played motivated,” Holtz said. “Losing our starting quarterback, we knew defensively we had to step up and offensively we had to get it going.

“We did that on both sides of the ball.”

O’Rourke, supported with a crutch in each arm, was a captain for Rocklin. He watched the game from a wheelchair on the sidelines and was pleased with the performance of his squad.

“I didn’t think for a second that we weren’t going to do what we did tonight,” O’Rourke said. “I was really proud. We’ve already found ourselves as a team and we know what we are about.”

A 7-7 second-half scoring ratio was hardly the comeback the Timberwolves needed.

“I just think they executed more than us,” Woodcreek junior running back Anthony Mahr (15 rushes, 81 yards) said. “We definitely played our hearts out, but we just have to get back after it and clean some things up.”

Drive-killing penalties would be a good spot to start scrubbing.

Ill-timed infractions effectively ruined six Woodcreek drives. If it wasn’t holding deep in the backfield, it was intentional grounding, a false start or unsportsmanlike conduct.

“We have to look ourselves in the mirror, because we had way too many penalties,” Woodcreek coach Kyle Stowers said. “You can’t do that against good football teams in our league.

“It’s going to cost you and it hurt us tonight.”

Woodcreek’s only score came on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Harborth to Lenny Nelson. Rocklin floated safeties over both Nelson and Malcolm Thomas (seven catches, 112 yards) for most of the game.

“We emphasized all week that (Thomas) and (Nelson) do a tremendous job,” Benzel said. “We made sure to take those guys away as much as possible and we contained them except for the one touchdown.”

Rocklin’s junior varsity team beat Woodcreek 26-10.

Email Ike Dodson at Follow him on Twitter, @Ike_Dodson.