In a matchup that would decide which team would live on to play in the California playoffs, and which team would just miss out, the Del Oro Eagles and Rocklin Thunder left everything on the field for the chance to play one more week. In the end, the Del Oro Eagles won the game and the chance to extend their season 38-35 on a field goal by senior kicker Skyler Rand with only 2.4 seconds left on the clock.
The teams fought back and forth all night with the lead changing hands five times throughout this evenly-match and well-played football game. Del Oro took the opening kickoff and marched down the field culminating in a short touchdown run for Dylan Kainrath. But Rocklin would answer back in the same quarter when junior quarterback Logan Webb found Cory Burmester for a 16yd touchdown pass.
Del Oro would climb back into the lead behind the strong running of Brandon Monroe, who followed his blockers and scored on a 1yd plunge on 4th and goal. Once again, however, the Thunder found a way back in the game as Spencer Gregg collected a long pass from Webb to tie the game back up at 14-14 with less then ten minutes to go in the first half. Monroe, playing defensive back for the Eagles in addition to his starring role on offense, intercepted a pass from Webb intended for Dominic Giampaoli and raced down the field, eluding the Thunder tacklers en route to his second touchdown of the game, this one on a sixty-yard return. The half would end with Del Oro leading 21-14.
Rocklin came out fired up in the second half and put together an impressive drive capped off by a nifty touchdown run by senior running back Raymon Kendall to tie the game up again. Rocklin got the ball back and quickly drove down the field looking to take their first lead of the game. Giampaoli delivered in a big way as he hauled in a deep ball from Webb to give the Thunder the lead at 28-21 heading into the final stanza.
In the fourth, Del Oro followed their workhorse running back, coming back after missing three weeks with a knee injury, to paydirt once again, this time on a 16yd run to tie the score at 28 all. Rocklin quickly answered that score with a score of its own, as Webb once again found Gregg, this time for a thirty-seven yard touchdown pass that gave the Thunder the lead once again.
Fighting for their lives, the Eagles worked behind their big offensive line and got back down into scoring position behind the good decision-making of senior quarterback (and Great American Rivalry Series Scholar-Athlete) Zach Labar. Labar’s play in the fourth set up Monroe for another short touchdown run, his fourth touchdown of the night. The final tally evening the score with under four minutes to go in the game.
The Thunder received the kick and quickly drove to almost midfield after converting on 4th and 8, but the Eagle defense stiffened and held Rocklin on the next series of downs, ultimately knocking a 4th down pass out of the receivers hands. The catch would have been enough to give the Thunder a first down in Del Oro territory, but the defense for the Eagles made the play.
Now the ball was in the hands of Labar and Monroe, and the dynamic senior duo did not disappoint. Labar scrambled for twenty yards to put the Eagles in field goal range, and Monroe added a few more yards to get to the left hash mark to set up the only successful field goal attempt of the game. An earlier kick for Rocklin was blocked, a key play that would come back huge in the final minutes.
With 2.4 seconds left on the clock, Rand stepped up to take the kick. The Rocklin coaching staff was out of timeouts, so there would be no “icing” the kicker tonight. Rand knocked the ball through the uprights and all-out pandemonium ensued at the Del Oro Stadium. The Eagles triumphed 38-35, and would await results from around the area to determine next week’s playoff opponent.
Monroe was named the Great American Rivalry Series presented by the US Marine Corps Most Valuable Player, scoring a combined four touchdowns (one on defense) to go along with over a hundred yards rushing to take home the honors. Rocklin’s Webb also threw for four touchdowns, but in the end it wasn’t enough.
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- Rocklin vs Del Oro 2012