Rocklin’s going bowling

Thunder face Servite in Division II game on Saturday
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High’s undefeated football team will play in the Division II state bowl game on Saturday in Carson. There are five California Interscholastic Federation bowl games featuring a section winner from Northern California against a section champion from Southern California. Rocklin will play Servite High of Anaheim at 4 p.m. at the Home Depot Center on Saturday. All five games will be played at the Home Depot Center, two on Friday and three on Saturday. De La Salle and Crenshaw will play in Saturday’s 8 p.m. open division game, the one that Grant won last year. The other bowl games are Division I (Bellarmine Prep vs. Oceanside), Division III (Marin Catholic vs. Serra of Gardena) and Small-School Division (Modesto Christian vs. Francis Parker). The bowl lineup was selected by 10 section commissioners from across the state. Each bowl game will be televised by Comcast Sports Net Bay Area. Rocklin (14-0) became bowl eligible by defeating rival Del Oro 21-14 at UC Davis for its first Sac-Joaquin Section, Division II title on Friday night. The Servite Friars (13-1) are ranked No. 4 in the state (any division) by while Rocklin is ranked No. 7 overall. Servite is ranked 29th in the country (any division) by while Rocklin is ranked 44th. The Friars average 32.4 points per game and give up 18.2. The Thunder average 36.4 points and give up 17.9. Servite’s lone loss this season was 23-9 to Edison of Huntington Beach on Sept. 25, but the Friars beat this same team 16-6 on Saturday to win a section title. Servite senior receiver Christopher Nicholls has 24 touchdowns (15 rushing) and has combined for 1,238 yards from scrimmage. Senior quarterback Cody Fajardo has completed 166-of-236 passes for 2,262 yards, 20 touchdowns and two interceptions. Fajardo has also run 170 times for 1,036 yards and eight touchdowns. Rocklin will be without starting quarterback Jimmy Laughrea (157-287, 2,635 yards, 22 touchdowns, nine interceptions passing, six rushing touchdowns) on Saturday as the junior broke his left arm in the fourth quarter against Del Oro. Thunder senior receiver Tiger Sorenson (34 catches, 499 yards, four touchdowns) will be the starting quarterback in Carson on Saturday. Sorenson was Rocklin’s starting quarterback as a junior but he broke his collarbone on the fourth play of the second game. Laughrea, then a sophomore, took over as the starter after Sorenson’s injury. Sorenson didn’t attempt a pass against Del Oro on Saturday and he is 3-of-8 passing for 39 yards, one touchdown and one interception this season. “I’d rather be playing receiver,” said Sorenson about the bowl game. “Jimmy got us to this point and he deserves (to play) but he went down so I have to step up and lead the team.” Thunder coach Greg Benzel is confident that Sorenson will be up to the challenge. “Jimmy is a competitor so it will hurt him not to play,” Benzel said. “But he is excited just like we all are about Tiger playing quarterback. We are a team, we rallied without (senior linebacker) Daniel (Lessard) against Grant and we will rally without Jimmy. These guys believe in each other.” Sorenson has felt the love since Laughrea’s injury. “All my teammates called me and let me know that they have 100 percent confidence in me and it’s good to have that,” Sorenson said. “Mainly we will just be having fun. It’s the last game for the seniors and it’s a good way to go out. A great season.” The Thunder went 4-6 last season. “It’s pretty crazy to see that we are at this point,” Sorenson said. “Last year we were 4-6 and this year we are 14-0 and playing for a state championship.” Sorenson says transitioning back to quarterback isn’t that difficult. “It’s pretty basic stuff – playing receiver I pretty much know all the plays and all the routes,” Sorenson said. Thunder senior running Jackson Cummings enters the game with 2,247 rushing yards on 313 carries. He has 40 total touchdowns. Lessard, the defensive MVP of the Sierra Foothill League, returned from a knee injury Saturday after sitting out the playoff victory over Grant a week earlier. He was a key member of the defense that blanked Del Oro in the second half.