SACRAMENTO — All the scoring favored host Rio Americano Saturday afternoon as the Raiders turned back Golden Sierra 26-0 in nonleague football action.
Under a hot sun, Rio scored on its first possessions of the first and third quarters and divided its four touchdowns over both halves. Defensively, the Raiders were aggressive and displayed size in just the right spots to thwart the Grizzlies.
“All our preseason opponents have had size on us but it’s good we’re experiencing it, adjusting and improving,” Golden Sierra coach John Hilton said. “It’s frustrating because we’d like to see immediate success but the kids are staying positive.”
Despite the loss that dropped the Griz to 0-3 with a tough one against Casa Roble coming up, Hilton felt the Garden Valley squad moved the needle in its preparation to make a run once the Sierra Delta League starts.
“We did something today we haven’t done our first two games and that’s play from the start to the end and compete for four quarters. Against Capital Christian we didn’t start playing until the second half and against Argonaut we came on late,” Hilton said.
Trailing 6-0 late in the first, Hilton and Co. made a gutsy call from the sideline — to go for it on fourth and 1 from their own 13 — and Jeff Klahn punched ahead for the first down before the drive stalled. Three plays later and aided by a face-mask penalty, the Raiders went up 12-0.
Attempting the two-point conversion, Golden Sierra’s Sam Stewart stopped Rio’s Brennan Parson shy of the goal line.
Thanks to the efforts of Raider ends Austin O’Dea and Jordan Cloud, the Grizzlies spun their wheels on the ground but found success through the air after Anthony Rosas beat a double team to haul in a 28-yard reception thrown by quarterback Daniel Lesher.
“It was disappointing we couldn’t move on the ground but our offensive line (Justin Eicher, Trevor Pedri, Korey Hensman, Jacob Hamilton, Casey Blakley, Steward at tight end) did a good job stepping up to give us time to throw,” Hilton said.
Lesher found Steward for 2 yards, Rosas for 8, Dominic Chamberlain for 5, Rosas for 6, Cameron Stephens for 15 and Brian Cann for 3. Several flags against Golden Sierra appeared to kill the possession but on fourth and 23, the Raiders interfered on a pass to Rosa and a personal foul moved the Grizzlies inside Rio’s 10.
The Raiders stiffened to deny the Griz and got the ball back with less than a minute before halftime. In the second half, Johah Cartwright ran in from the 4 for his second score.
A 32-yards catch and run by Jason Heathers and Joey Dupzyk’s kick completed the scoring. Golden Sierra answered as Lesher hit Chamberlain for 18, Stewart for 11 and 5 but another to Stewart on fourth down failed to move the chains.
Lesher forced a fumble on the Raiders’ next series but no Griz could make the recovery. Golden Sierra failed to move on its last possession and waited on defense as the seconds ticked off.
The Grizzly JV posted a big 36-7 victory.