Woodcreek rushes past Rocklin for 24-14 homecoming victory

Ball control highlights Timberwolves’ win
By: Jim Linsdau of The Placer Herald
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First Quarter

W – England 3-yard TD run (Carlson kick), 5:04.

Second Quarter

W – Ajayi 5-yard TD run (Carlson kick), 9:41.

R – Overton 1-yard TD pass from Wyant (Portello kick), 6:48

R – Rakela 1-yard TD run (Portello kick), 0:31.

Third Quarter

W –  Carlson 26-yard FG, 3:00.

Fourth Quarter

W – Ajayi 33-yard TD run (Carlson kick), 1:15.

ROSEVILLE – The Woodcreek High football team used a quick-snap, grinding attack to wear down the Rocklin defense and come away with a 24-14 victory Friday in Timberwolves’ country.

Woodcreek found it necessary to throw just four passes, none for more than 12 yards, to earn their second victory in the Sierra Foothill League campaign. The ground-pounding offense resulted in 311 total yards and three touchdowns.

“We knew we were going to run the ball,” Woodcreek co-head coach Bradley Hunkins said. “That’s our offense; running is our game. If we’re going to get 4-5 yards a carry at times why fix it; we’re going to keep running it.”

Hunkins said the quick-snap offense was introduced during the Timberwolves’ bye week leading up to the game and it proved effective. However, Woodcreek was penalized a couple of times for failing to set for a full second before snapping the ball.

Meanwhile, Rocklin went to the air to move the ball and balanced it with a 95-yard performance by running back Brenden Rakela. The Thunder ran 44 plays to Woodcreek’s 65.

“Woodcreek does a very nice job of controlling the ball and having a system of offense. They limit your possessions so you have to take full advantage of your possessions,” said Rocklin head coach Greg Benzel. “With the penalties, with the batted balls, we had some receivers open, but we couldn’t get the ball to them.”

The T’Wolves opened a 14-point lead on two rushing plays by 266-pound Peyton Elmendorf (3 yards) and Isaiah Ajayi (5 yards) to put the Thunder in an early hole. But Rocklin came back with a 1-yard scoring pass from quarterback Cade Wyant to Kier Gibson-Adams and a 1-yard plunge by Rakela to knot the game by halftime.

But a 19-play drive by Woodcreek to open the second half took a toll on the Thunder defense. Although the drive eventually ended in a 26-yard field goal, it was enough to put Rocklin on the ropes.

After a four-and-out by the Storm, the Timberwolves went on another sustained drive that appeared to end on a 3-yard TD run by England, but it was called back on a holding penalty. That actually led to taking more time off the clock, although it held Woodcreek’s advantage to just three, 17-14.

With the game now in the fourth quarter, The Thunder started a drive from their 20 using Rakela’s legs. The senior carried the payload down to the T’Wolves 38 on five carries, but then lightning struck in the form of an interception.

Linebacker Jack Fitzpatrick stepped in front of a Wyant pass with 3:02 left on the clock and the air went out of the Storm.

Woodcreek then pounded the ball into Rocklin territory, capped by Ajayi’s 33-yard victory-sealing touchdown run with 1:15 remaining in the game.

“You talk about a complete victory, it was special teams, offense, defense, this is what you look for when you want to win,” Hunkins said.

Hunkins said he was also wished a speedy recovery for a Rocklin player who was taken off the field in an ambulance.

Ajayi gained 144 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns, and England had 61 yards on 14 totes.

Wyant was 12-26 passing for 140 yards, one touchdown and one pick (stats unofficial).

Woodcreek (2-2) will host Granite Bay (1-3). The Grizzlies lost to Nevada Union 34-21 Friday.

Rocklin (1-3) will host Folsom (4-0), who had a bye this week.