RELATED: Week 4 State Top 25 Scoreboard
As sophomore splashes go, quarterback Ian Book from Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills isn’t going to approach the monstrous totals that Folsom’s Jake Browning did last season.
But Book does a few things already very well, such as throw on the run and put the ball in the hands of his receivers on crossing routes, and his play was a major reason why Oak Ridge won on its trip to play Grant of Sacramento on Friday night 20-17.
Both teams entered the night at 3-0 with the winner in line to possibly get a state rankings bump next week.
Book unofficially completed 24 of 38 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans with the lone interception bouncing off an Oak Ridge player and into the hands of Grant’s Malik Goss-Pruitt in the third quarter.
At that point, Oak Ridge had already tied the score at 10-10 after trailing 10-7 at halftime. The Trojans wouldn’t let that interception, however, deter them on this night. They stopped the Pacers in three plays, got the ball back and scored on a 58-yard drive in which Book was 5-for-5. He threw the go-ahead TD pass on a one-handed grab by senior tight end Trent Buenzil from eight yards out.
Oak Ridge added a 27-yard field goal by junior kicker Adam Walter with 8:03 left, but Grant’s offense finally came alive with 72-yard drive and cut the lead to 20-17 on a one-yard plunge by junior fullback Deandre Whittington-Grays with 4:15 left.
The Trojans then salted away the win by running out the last 4:15 of the clock, picking up one first down on a fourth down pass interference penalty.
“We knew it was going to be a great atmosphere over here and that we had to bring the same energy to the road that we’ve had at home,” Book said. “This was our best game so far.”
Oak Ridge head coach Eric Cavaliere liked the win as well because he knows how difficult it will be when the Trojans will battle with 4-0 teams such as state top 25 ranked Folsom and Pleasant Grove in the upcoming Delta River League.
“Going into tonight teams in our league had just one loss and it’s going to be the real deal to play in it,” said Cavaliere, whose team may also be in the top 25 by the time Delta River League action begins in two weeks at Folsom. “Games like this are only going to help us. Playing a soft schedule is not going to prepare you for some of our league games.”
Grant’s lone touchdown came in the second quarter on a 21-yard run by junior TieNeal Martin. The Pacers still may be a year away from realistically getting back to the level they were at in 2008 and 2009 since several juniors and sophomores are starting. One of the team’s top underclassmen is 6-foot-6, 320-pound junior offensive tackle Darren Paulo.