Football: Balanced offense gives Oak Ridge victory
Oak Ridge High’s varsity football team charged through the opening round of CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs Friday with a 31-7 win over Napa.
Trojan quarterback Ian Book completed 12 of 18 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns — two of which targeted senior Trent Buenzli on a couple of crafty routes up the middle. Senior running back Josh Wellman rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown, forcing Napa onto its heels against this formidable ground game.
“Any time you can run the football effectively, it’s going to help your pass protection,” Oak Ridge head coach Eric Cavaliere said. “Our goal coming into any game is to have balance, and force a team to try to defend everything.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Indians struck early in the second quarter, capping off a drive with a one-yard touchdown run to go up 7-0. Troy responded with a quick drive inside field-goal range, where junior Adam Walter threaded a 27-yard shot to put Oak Ridge on the board with three.
After a few trades of possession, Wellman punched in a one-yard touchdown run with five minutes remaining in the half to overtake Napa’s lead. Oak Ridge led 10-7 at halftime, picking up considerable momentum as the teams headed into the locker room.
“Our offensive line did well,” Cavaliere said. “We did give up one sack but other than that we were able to get plays off, our quarterback had time to throw the ball and our running game was working.”
Capitalizing on Indian mental errors, Oak Ridge jumped all over opportunities in a 14-point third quarter. Thomas Mahlman dove on a missed punt reception by Napa, giving Oak Ridge great field possession. After one running play, Book connected with Buenzli for a 39-yard touchdown pass.
Buenzli recovered a Napa fumble later in the quarter and was rewarded with another touchdown pass from Book to go up 24-7. One final touchdown pass to senior Victor Bunce in the fourth quarter put the last nail in the coffin.
The Trojans finished with 299 total offensive yards.
Oak Ridge faces Granite Bay at 7 p.m. on Friday at home in the second round. Last year, the Grizzlies beat the Trojans,35-23,to claim the section and State D-I titles.
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