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Del Oro and Rocklin rematch lives up to the hype

The Thunder prevail despite a good fight from Del Oro
By: Joshua Ansley Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS – After emerging from a cluster of Rocklin High defenders, junior Nick O’Sullivan surged down the left sideline for a 59-yard touchdown run that brought Del Oro within just six points of the Thunder in the third quarter Friday night. Nonetheless, Rocklin was able to absorb Del Oro’s punches all night long as it managed to hang on for a 27-18 win in the Sierra Foothill League opener for both squads. With the win Rocklin improved to 5-1 overall and Del Oro fell to 2-4 overall. The first quarter showcased a Del Oro defense determined to shut down one of the best passing games in the Sierra Foothill League. On the third play of the game, Angelo Pasquale intercepted Rocklin’s star quarterback Jimmy Laughrea, and Del Oro took over on Rocklin’s 43-yard line. The Eagle offense failed to take advantage of the turnover and Rocklin’s ability to make the big play when it needed it became the difference. The Thunder answered with a 69-yard pass from Laughrea to wide-receiver Nick Williams, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by running back Brian Macdonald. Later in the game Laughrea and Williams hooked up again for a 60-yard pass and Macdonald had runs of 63 and 48 yards, which came at crucial moments. Laughrea finished the night with 235 yards in the air on 10 of 17 passing. His main target was Williams who finished with four catches totaling 158 yards. On the ground, Macdonald finished with 209 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns. The Eagle defense held Rocklin’s high-powered offense in check for most of the game with the exception of a few huge plays down the stretch. Defensive backs Russell Smith and Kai Vonalvensleben had excellent games along with Max Magleby, who stepped in at safety and made three tackles for no gain. Magleby also started at quarterback for Del Oro, and played the entire game at the position following a brief stint by junior Bobby Heatherington. Magleby passed for 138 yards and completed 6 of 12 passes. Blake Covey was the top receiver for Del Oro, catching three passes for 77 yards. With running back Kenny Andri still out with an injury, the Eagles may have found an answer in O’Sullivan, whose ability to finish off runs and produce big plays sparked the Del Oro offense. O’Sullivan completed the game with 177 yards on 29 carries, two touchdowns, a two-point conversion, and kick returns for 20 and 44 yards. There were stretches during the third quarter where he was unstoppable. With the exception of an eight-yard pass to Covey, O’Sullivan ran the ball 15 times in a row, leaving the Thunder in a quandary as to how to bring him down. O’Sullivan said playing against Rocklin compared to other SFL opponents is always a little different for him given the history between the two teams. He added that every year he just wants to crush them. As for his emergence at running back, O’Sullivan said it’s just a matter of style and preference as to who will be successful on any given play. “Every running back we have features something different,” he said. “Angelo (Pasquale) is a break- out runner, Kenny (Andri) has the ability to make quick cuts and turn corners, and I’m more of a down hill runner. We all bring something different to the team.” Coach Casey Taylor told the team after the game that this loss only means the team will have to get better and there is still a lot of football yet to be played. “We have a whole season in front of us,” he said. “Nothing is done.” Del Oro will host Nevada Union next Friday. Rocklin will also be at home to take on Roseville. Junior Varsity Del Oro 27, Rocklin 21 The Golden Eagles are now 5-2 overall and will take on Nevada Union next week at Del Oro.