Some quick hit thoughts and themes from Round II of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs...
* Rodrigues out - For any teams who lost tough games or were wiped out, or for triumphant clubs irked that they weren't more impressive, here's a reality bite: Jake Rodrigues.
He's the Whitney High quarterback - personable, classy, hard-working, leader - who powered the Wildcats to a 32-0 lead against Cosumnes Oaks in a Division III second-round game before he went down with a grisly injury on the first play of the fourth quarter.
He broke his left fibula in such a horrific scene that teammates looked away and dropped to their knees. Whitney won 35-0 in the most somber victory of the season.
"Really tough, unfair," Whitney coach Mike Gimenez said tonight, Rodrigues near him in a Rocklin hospital. "He's like a son to me. He's done so much work to put our program where it is. For him not to be able to play next week, it's hard. I feel so bad for him."
* More QB concern - Brendan Keeney of Granite Bay missed most of his D-I game against Oak Ridge with a hip pointer after taking a helmet shot. Granite Bay won 21-12 behind a backup JV quarterback wearing his JV uniform. Keeney's health next week against top-seeded Lincoln of Stockton is the story line of the week, to be sure.
Keeney, ever the gutty competitor, insists he will be game ready against Lincoln.
* LB thriller - The stunner of the night was turned in by Liberty Ranch of Galt, a new school with its first senior class and a sudden new outlook on things after a 33-32 win at 11-0 Colfax in D-IV play. Liberty Ranch and standout runner John Wiernicki went 1-9 last season. Wiernicki won it with a touchdown run with 26 seconds left to play. Colfax came in with decades of playoff experience. Liberty Ranch came in with 14 days of playoff experience.
* Grant bounced - Bethel upended Grant 26-21 in D-I, bringing to end an up-and-down Pacers season wracked with injuries and inconsistent play. Grant was shutout in the second half by the Jaguars of Vallejo (11-1). Isaiah Adams had two scores for Grant, but Shaq Thompson was held out of the end zone, drawing the curtain on his otherwise terrific Pacers career. Thompson rushed for just 50 yards on 14 carries. He passed for 182. The much-anticipated Grant-Pleasant Grove showdown will not happen.
* PG Power - Pleasant Grove overwhelmed Pitman of Turlock 45-0. Pitman coaches fumed at drawing a No. 7 seed after a 9-1 regular season, losing only by three to Buhach Colony, and the Pride filed out an amazing 22 varsity coaches on their roster on and onto the field. They outnumbered Pleasant Grove handily there with PG offering just six coaches.
Mark Jenkins and Cody Demps combined for five total scores and the defense again dominated for PG with Tyree Hanson, Alex Moreno, Nick Terry and Arik Armstead leading the way.
* Herd is Word - Elk Grove bruised Beyer of Modesto 55-6 with more great line play and running by Deon Ransom, Robert Frazier and Wadus Parker. Those backs combined for six scores. Next is Folsom in a terrific D-II semifinal.
Even nose guard Matt Nugent scored for the Herd prompting coach Chris Nixon to gleefully say later, "You've got to give the nose guard some carries."
* Bulldogs bite - The last thing Inderkum could afford was to fall behind in a hurry to Folsom. It happened. Folsom rolled 48-14 behind Tanner Trosin's 291 yards and three touchdowns and a defense that stymied the Tigers wing-T.
* Boo on Buhach - Buhach Colony beat Del Capo 28-7 in a game that was 14-7 in the fourth. Buhach went for an onside kick late, and no wonder coaches from both sides barked at each other after the game when the teams declined to shake hands.
Buhach could have taken a knee, Del Campo coaches said.
* Del Oro's golden rally - Placer led Del Oro 12-7 at the half, and then Del Oro D-coordinator guru Steve Birch dialed up his troops in a spirited locker room rally. Del Oro erupted 41-12, the big turning points coming on a 73-yard scoring run by Brandon Monroe and a 98 yard fumble recovery touchdown for Blake Covey.
* Rams roll - Casa Roble beat Los Banos 34-24 with Mitch Samson tossing two of his three touchdowns to Dalton Rowe. Kody Jones rushed for 141 yards and two scores and Cameron Buell had 13 tackles. Next is a rematch with Oakdale, the very program that bounced the Rams last season.
* Logan's legendary list - Oakdale belted Vista del Lago 49-7, scoring on a quick pick-six to set the tone. Logan Smith came in with the state record for receptions in a single season with 137 - the previous was 122 - and he pulle din 15 more catches for 110 yards. He finished his stunning senior season with 152 receptions for 1,894 yards. His yardage is second most in state history behind only the 2,053 that Anthony Celestine of Ridgecrest-Burroughs of southern California had in 2003, according to the Cal-Hi State record book.
Best thing about Smith? His class and professionalism.
I will co-host with Mike Finnerty the SureWest Sports Radio Show on Saturday morning on ESPN1320 from 9-10 with commentary and insight (show linked to ESPN1320.net later in the day)...