By Joe Davidson
Rebounding nicely from a one-point loss to state-ranked No. 5 Long Beach Poly last week, the Grant Pacers rolled rival Burbank 40-8 tonight in Del Paso Heights.
Shaq Thompson, limited to mostly defense last week against Poly due to a deep thigh bruise, rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns. He also made two crunching hits on defense from his safety spot and flattened a foe on a block.
Thompson also filled in for quarterback Terry Shine in the second half when Shine went out with a hand injury. Thompson just missed on two 50-yard touchdown bombs, he has that sort of arm.
Isaiah Adams rushed for two touchdowns for Grant as it continues to break in new linemen after three went down for the season with knee injuries in the season opening 43-16 win over Folsom.
Grant suffered another blow this week when ace linebacker Jonathan Iulio had to have emergency hand surgery. He could miss five weeks. Grant is already without top linebacker Abnor Toma due to a season-ending knee injury.
But as is common for Grant, the Pacers seem to find a way to plug in new faces. On Saturday, linebacker Charlie Tuiileila scooped up a fumble and rumbled in from 12 yards for a touchdown to put Grant up 14-0. Mose Moala also played well at linebacker.
In addition, David Jones blocked a punt and recovered a fumble for Grant, Isaiah Taylor had an interception and Grant had a team tackling safety.
Charlie Vue, the state's leading scorer as a kicker in 2010, had a 40-yard field goal as fans chanted "Vuuuuuu."
The Burbank game is an ongoing series between the programs where the respect and admiration runs deep. Burbabk coach John Heffernan and Grant boss Mike Alberghini are coaching pals, and a lot of their players know each other, either through family or church.
There is terrific sportsmanship - and plenty of hard hits - when these teams play. Coaches and players embraced well after teh game.
Grant next plays at Lincoln of Stockton, arguably the best team in the Sac-Joaquin Section. The Trojans are 3-0, including a 50-49 double overtime win over then Maxpreps national No. 8 Pleasant Grove.
Should Grant prevail, it would be hard to argue that Grant isn't the top team in the section.
* For more on prep football, check out the SureWestSports Radio Show that aired this morning on ESPN1320 on ESPN1320.net.