Jr. T-wolves work overtime to gain first victory

Defensive stand sets up game-winner in extra session
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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It took an extra session to get it done, but the Woodcreek Jr. Timberwolves Midget team (1-5) won its first game of the season Saturday with a 20-14 overtime victory at Roseville (1-5). With the game tied at the end of regulation, the teams proceeded to overtime. The SYFC uses the California tiebreaker system in which each team gets four downs starting at the opponents’ 10-yard line. Roseville came up empty in four downs on its offensive sequence as Woodcreek’s defensive line made four big stops. Jr. Timberwolf quarterback Nick Briggi turned his team’s momentum into a touchdown on its first overtime play. On first and goal, the signal caller rolled left and hit receiver Mitchell Layton with a 9-yard pass. Layton spun in for the last yard, standing up for the touchdown and his team’s biggest highlight this season. Briggi only had five pass attempts the entire game, including Layton’s touchdown in overtime. He finished 3-of-5 passing for 63 yards with and a touchdown and an interception. Layton had five carries good for 71 yards rushing and Woodcreek’s first touchdown. The touchdown was the end result of a 65-yard rushing drive by Layton. His only reception grabbed his second touchdown and the game-winner. Layton injured his knee on a hit in the second quarter and didn’t return until he knew his team needed him in the fourth. “They played one heck of a game,” said Woodcreek Head Coach Mike Craik. “The only thing that really hurt us was we lost another starting running back in the very first series.” Devin Mick was the injured player and did not return. It’s been a season of injuries at running back for Craik, who lost Malik Rodriguez to a broken collarbone in week two versus Granite Bay. Other injuries include Walter Andrews earlier in the week, Tanner Mack with a sprained back and Angel Castillo with a broken hand bone. Austin McCarty brought a toughness to his team unexpected by Roseville. He was the lead blocker on a devastating hit, making Layton’s 33-yard pickup in Woodcreek’s first touchdown drive possible. On a one-yard carry just before the half he smashed his way for a touchdown giving his team a 14-0 lead at half. McCarty led the game with six tackles, one coming on the overtime stop of Roseville’s star running back Joseph Couto. Couto had 138 yards rushing with both of Roseville’s touchdowns. His second score forced overtime as he found space to the left of his o-line with little defensive pressure. Dillon Bolen, Dylan Stacy and Dylan Bell came up huge on defense for Woodcreek. Bolen had three tackles in addition to being the game’s leading receiver with 53 yards on two receptions. Stacy had three tackles, including a big one on Couto in overtime. Bell made the last tackle of Woodcreek’s defensive game. Fourth-and-goal for the Jr. Tigers had Couto again trying to score, but found only Bell pushing him back a few yards before dropping him to the ground. On the other end Roseville’s defense, led by Keanu Aleman, Naem Hanifah and Robert Casteneda, made it especially hard for Woodcreek to win the game. Aleman had a couple of tackles and a big sack on Briggi to force a punt. Hanifah had intercepted Briggi’s pass at the end of the fourth to force Woodcreek into overtime. Casteneda was big inside stopping runs from breaking more than short yardage. “Facing adversity seems like all we’ve been doing this year,” said Craik. Craik knows the rivalry between Roseville and Woodcreek well having previously coached at Roseville for a number of years before coming to the Jr. Timberwolves. He made sure his team knew what this game meant to both him and the Woodcreek organization. “This is for pride,” Craik told his players. “It was for bragging rights of Roseville. I told them if they executed for four quarters the scoreboard will take care of itself. This is both Lonnie (Smith, Head Coach Roseville Midgets) and my worst seasons.” “I told them you have four plays, leave it all on the field,” added Craik. Woodcreek stayed in a 6-3 defense for all four Roseville overtime plays. Roseville drove the ball 76 yards before tying the game at 14-14. Craik was bent on guarding the goal line first in overtime. Roseville won the toss and Coach Lonnie Smith chose to take offense first. “We just shut them down,” said Craik. “The kids were getting a little tired. Deep inside I knew we had the game. I knew within four plays that we were going to score from the ten. If anything I have a couple kickers and I could have just kicked a field goal.” The Woodcreek Midgets head to Oakmont (1-5) and another cross-town rivalry next Saturday. Craik feels good about where his team is heading into week seven. “Now that these kids know what it takes to win,” Craik said. “I don’t see why we wouldn’t win.” For Roseville, week seven means a trip to Del Oro (6-0). Elsewhere in the SYFC: Del Oro 6, Oak Ridge 0 The Golden Eagles Midget team remains unstoppable earning a 6-0 record after winning a close one at Oak Ridge (4-2). Del Oro hosts Roseville (1-5) next weekend. Oakmont 18, American River 42 The Jr. Vikings stay at the bottom of the pack (1-5), in a four-way tie for last place, following a beating by the Jr. Raiders. In week 7 they host Woodcreek (1-5) in what should be a hard fought game for either team’s second win of the season. Rocklin 32, Granite Bay 22 The Jr. Thunder Midgets improve to 4-2 heading into week seven after advancing past the Grizzlies (1-5). Rocklin is at Folsom (5-1) next weekend in a game that will decide who makes the playoffs. In the Sierra Foothill Division: Whitney 0, Natomas 20 The Jr. Wildcats Midget, still without a win, watched Natomas (1-3) earn its first. Week seven has Whitney hosting Lincoln (0-4) in what will be the best game of the season for both teams. Lincoln 12, Placer 13 The Jr. Zebras Midget team (0-4) continues a tough season, almost escaping with its first win at Placer. Jr. Midgets Three-way tie for first place Rocklin 36, Granite Bay 0 The Jr. Thunder advance to 5-1 awaiting a brutal game against Folsom (5-1) in week seven. Rocklin has allowed the least number of points (12) this season of the three teams tied for first. Roseville 38, Woodcreek 0 Staying even with Rocklin, the Jr. Tigers easily improved to 5-1, getting ready for Del Oro (1-5) next weekend. Roseville has scored 140 points, Rocklin 120 and Folsom 145. As the Jr. Thunder fight Folsom next week Roseville hopes to take an easy win over D.O. and ensure their spot at the top of the league. Jr. Pee Wees Woodcreek 16, Roseville 0 Beating Roseville was huge for the Jr. Timberwolves as they vie for a playoff spot at 4-2 tied with Granite Bay and Del Oro. Woodcreek is at Del Oro in week seven in a critical game for both teams. Granite Bay 29, Rocklin 24 The Jr. Grizzlies remain in the race for playoffs at 4-2 after gathering enough strength to take out Rocklin. Week seven has Granite Bay hosting Oak Ridge (3-3) in a must win for the Grizzlies. Mighty Mites Granite Bay 28, Rocklin 0 The Grizzlies remain part of a three-way tie at 5-1 for first place after beating the Jr. Thunder. Week seven is the biggest game of the season for the Jr. Grizzlies as they host Oak Ridge (5-1). The game will likely determine an advantage heading into playoffs. Woodcreek 6, Roseville 7 The Jr. Timberwolves drop to 4-2 after a much needed win against Roseville. Woodcreek is at Oakmont (2-4) next weekend in what should be a victory in the hopes for remaining in the playoff race. Roseville advances to 4-2 beating Woodcreek and inch their way into the race ready to take on Del Oro (1-5) in week seven. FYI: SYFC schedule for Sat., Oct. 10 Roseville at Del Oro Oak Ridge at Granite Bay Oakmont at Woodcreek Sierra Valley Division Midget standings Del Oro 6-0 Folsom 5-1 American River 5-1 Oak Ridge 4-2 Rocklin 4-2 Antelope 2-4 Roseville 1-5 Oakmont 1-5 Granite Bay 1-5 Woodcreek 1-5