By Bill Paterson
Rocklin football coach Greg Benzel feels like he has been running a M*A*S*H unit this season.
"I know injuries are part of the game, but we have been hit with more than our share," Benzel said. "We have had four broken legs, three knee injuries and two shoulder injuries.
"We had to go down and get a sophomore running back and bring him up. Evyn Holtz has been just what the doctor ordered."
The 5-foot-8, 170-pound Holtz, running behind his physical offensive line, carried 37 times for 158 yards Friday night in helping the No. 10 Thunder defeat No. 11 Inderkum 19-7 in Natomas.
Despite the injuries, Rocklin has had a great next-man-up attitude.
After losing to No. 3 Pleasant Grove 28-14 and No. 4 Oak Ridge 23-21 to open the season, they have since beaten Whitney 35-7, Del Campo 31-6 and, for the second year in a row, Inderkum.
The Thunder dominated in all phases against a Tigers team renowned for its rushing prowess.
Rocklin's defense, led by Skyler Gonzalez (three sacks) and Jake Sutton (two sacks), held Inderkum's speedy offense, averaging 428 total yards, to 204. The Tigers were held to 79 rushing yards, well off their average of 307 coming in.
Highly touted Inderkum quarterback C.J. Spencer was on the run most of the night. He completed five of 12 passes for 125 yards but was sacked six times.
Rocklin dominated time of possession behind its offensive line, led by seniors Matt DeLaby, Andre Sandridge, Spencer Medenwald, and the hard and heady running of Holtz.
He has now rushed for 458 yards in four games since being elevated from the junior varsity.
Thunder senior quarterback Logan Webb was eight of 19 for 87 yards, including touchdowns of five yards to Andrew Castle and 14 yards to Gonzalez. Matt O'Rourke added field goals of 26 and 30 yards.
"Our team is not as personnel-strong as it was, but we are playing better," Benzel said. "The adversity has brought our team together."
Both Inderkum and Rocklin will have byes next week before beginning league play Oct. 11.
Inderkum will open Tri-County Conference play at No. 19 Yuba City, the defending league champions. The Honkers ended Inderkum's 27-game league winning streak last season 49-42 in Natomas.
Rocklin will open Sierra Foothill League play by hosting struggling Nevada Union.
In other games:
No. 1 Folsom 49, No. 15 Monterey Trail 21 in Elk Grove - Jake Browning completed 23 of 27 passes for 361 yards and six touchdowns, including four to Will McClure (eight catches for 128 yards), as the Bulldogs (5-0) rolled over the Mustangs (3-2). Folsom led 42-7 at the half. Troy Knox had four catches for 108 yards.
No. 2 Elk Grove 43, Nevada Union 0 in Grass Valley - Even with leading rusher Wadus Parker sidelined with a sore ankle in a precautionary move, the Thundering Herd (5-0) rolled with 487 yards. Spencer Sheff rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns, Elijah Jones ran for 99 and a score and Tommy Arnold passed for 117 yards and accounted for two scores as the Miners (0-5) were shut out at home for the first time since 1983.
No. 3 Pleasant Grove 42, Pitman 7 at Sheldon - Dre Terrell completed 15 of 19 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns, three to Wyatt Demps (nine catches, 139 yards), and he had a 16-yard scoring run as the Eagles (5-0) blasted the Pride (4-1) of Turlock. Pitman had scored 60 or more points three times this season.
No. 5 Granite Bay 39, Pittsburg 35 in Pittsburg - Despite losing star flyback Tony Ellison to a knee strain before the half after he had scored on a 61-yard run and a 59-yard reception from Josh Neal, the Grizzlies (3-1) held off the Pirates (3-2) of the East Bay. Neal also hit Dylan Keeney for a 15-yard touchdown pass and he found Marc Ellis for strikes of 32 and 26 yards.
No. 7 Del Oro 38, No. 6 Grant 35 (2 overtimes) in Loomis - Mason Humes kicked a game-winning 28-yard field goal in the second overtime and Michael Moore tossed four touchdown passes, including a game-tying pass to Jonathon Tuttle with 24.8 seconds left in regulation, to lead the Golden Eagles (2-2) over the Pacers (3-2). Deandre Whittington-Grays rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns for Grant.
No. 17 Vista del Lago 33, El Dorado 19 in Folsom - Matt Jimison threw for four touchdowns, three to Brayden Shouse, as the Eagles (4-1) topped the Cougars (3-2).
No. 19 Yuba City 48, Placer 21 in Yuba City - Austin Thompson rushed for two touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass and Omar Herrera ran 72 yards for a score as the Honkers (5-0) jumped to a 35-0 first-half lead, then coasted from there against the Hillmen (1-3).
Antelope 49, Armijo 7 in Antelope - Titus Vinson rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries and Tyler McComb completed nine of 16 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns as the Titans (3-2) rolled past the Indians (0-4).
Sheldon 33, Laguna Creek 30 at Elk Grove - Nolan Merker threw five touchdown passes, including three to Taron Johnson, as the Huskies (3-2) rallied for two fourth-quarter scores to edge the Cardinals (1-3).
Rosemont 51, Kennedy 14 in Rosemont - Buddy Enriquez threw four touchdown passes - two each to Charles Love and Daniel Tveretinov - to lead the Wolverines (4-0) over the Cougars (0-4) in the Metro Conference opener.
El Camino 70, Bella Vista 28 at El Camino - Said Webster and Yosef Lanham each rushed for two touchdowns; Kamani Elam ran and threw for touchdowns; and Kijana Zigler returned a punt 60 yards for a score to lead the Eagles (3-2) over the Broncos (2-3).
Bear River 36, River Valley 12 in Lake of the Pines - Michael Tipton rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and Brad Botsford scored three touchdowns to lead the Bruins (4-0) over the Falcons (2-2). T.J. Dove rushed for two touchdowns for River Valley, including a 65-yarder.
Cosumnes Oaks 42, Del Campo 14 in Fair Oaks - Calvin Sawyer rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries to lead the Wolfpack (2-2) over the Cougars (1-4).
Liberty Ranch 53, Galt 0 at Galt- Tyler Regadanz returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown and threw a 35-yard scoring pass to Andrew Farrell and William Ranse Gale threw two touchdown passes to Kolby McDonald as the Hawks (3-2) topped the Warriors (1-4).
Whitney 22, Christian Brothers 14 in Rocklin - Drew Romo completed 15 of 34 passes for 161 yards and rushed for two touchdowns; Jordan Traynor had three field goals; and Kyle McCray 12 tackles as the Wildcats (2-3) beat the Falcons (3-2).
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson (916) 326-5506. The Bee's Joe Davidson and correspondent Trevor Horn contributed to this report.