Rocklin tops Roseville 51-27 to finish 10-0

Jackson Cummings rushes for 355 yards, six touchdowns
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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The regular season ended just as it began for Rocklin High’s varsity football team – with a zero in the loss column. The Thunder, who will enter next week’s Division II playoffs with a 10-0 record, won 51-27 at Roseville (2-8, 0-5 in the SFL) on Friday night to close out the perfect regular season. Sixteen teams will be in the DII playoffs and the seedings will be announced Saturday. Thunder coach Greg Benzel expects his team to be among the top-3 with St. Mary’s and Grant. Thunder senior running back Jackson Cummings continued what has been an outstanding season on Friday. He rushed 31 times for 355 yards and six touchdowns. He scored two touchdowns in each of the first three quarters. He found the end zone on runs of 43 and two yards in the first quarter, 33 and 21 in the second and five and 80 in the third. His final carry of the game was a fumble (Rocklin’s lone turnover) with 7:11 left in the game. Cummings has rushed 193 times for 1,625 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. He has also caught two touchdowns. Rocklin scored on every possession (six touchdowns and one field goal) until it punted with 2:50 left in the third quarter. Thunder quarterback Jimmy Laughrea threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Garvella to put the Thunder up 23-14 with 10:07 left in the second quarter. Rocklin’s other points came on a 32-yard field goal by Vincent Barrow just three minutes into the game. Rocklin led 16-7 after one quarter, 37-20 at the half and 51-27 after three quarters. Roseville turned the ball over five times with one fumble and four interceptions. Rocklin’s Sean Moore and Garvella each had an interception and senior Andrew McEwan had two. “We’re ready (for the playoffs). It was a tough season last year but it’s our time now,” McEwan said. “They threw a lot and we tried to get pressure on (Roseville quarterback Nick Blaser) and force him into bad throws.” McEwan says Rocklin’s 14-7 win over Granite Bay on Oct. 23 sticks out the most from the regular season. “That is No. 1 for me – the way our defense had to play against them,” McEwan said. “I think that was the most important win of the year for us.” It was long game on a cold night in Roseville but Benzel didn’t mind the ice bath that he received as the clock ran out in the fourth quarter. “They got me good - I was wondering why (junior) Pierce Thomas asked me for my headset (just before the ice shower).” said Benzel about the ice bath. “Tonight marks a special season . . . We knew we had a special group (before the season began). I don’t think we thought about going 10-0 but we thought about competing for a SFL championship.” Rocklin clinched the SFL title a week earlier with a 24-21 win over Del Oro. It was the first league title in football in school history. “Our guys are ready (for the playoffs),” Benzel said. “This season as a whole we’ve had big games and big situations and we’ve battled and responded.” Laughrea was 9-of-19 for 206 yards and one touchdown on Friday night. His top targets were Garvella (four grabs, 128 yards, one touchdown), Holden Huff (three for 54) and Tiger Sorenson (two for 20). Roseville’s Nick Blaser was 21-of-34 passing for 359 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. His top targets were senior Matt Hack (10 catches for 193 yards) and junior Beau Smith (four catches for 62 yards, one touchdown). Roseville’s other two touchdowns came on short runs from senior Vladi Tkachenko. Roseville’s JV team won 39-21 as the Tigers improved to 9-1.