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COMMENTARY

Getting off to a good start

By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Many of the local high school teams have gotten off to a good start and are running on all eight cylinders. And, some have gotten off to a slower start and need a bit of a tune up as the preseason continues.

Coming up this week is the granddaddy of preseason tuneups, the Quarry Bowl.

Now in its fourth year, the cross-town football rivalry resumes between Rocklin and Whitney. The game is in Wildcat Stadium, where the Thunder has never won. Of course, only one Quarry Bowl has been played there, so that’s not really an important statistic. What could be somewhat significant, the teams come in with a combined record of one win and three losses.

Perhaps of some significance is this will be the first year both clubs have played two games before playing one another, and they are both coming in off losses.

Of course, what is most significant is what they will learn since they know each other so well. Hopefully, both teams will come out stronger for the long road ahead.

Staying with football, Lincoln made a statement in its game with Natomas. Although the Nighthawks aren’t likely to be playoff contenders this year, 65-12 is the biggest win the Fighting Zebras have had over Natomas in the four years they’ve played each other.

Four years ago, Lincoln won by seven; in 2011, the spread was 27 and 41 last year. This year, simply do the math.

There are four undefeated teams in the Pioneer Valley League so far this season – and one of them isn’t Placer.

Moving into other sports, Rocklin’s girls volleyball team is rocking. So far, they are yet to lose a match and only have lost a handful of sets. According to Max Preps, they are at the top of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II rankings.

Running like the wind might be a bit clichéd, but Whitney’s cross country team seems to do just that. Although Jacob Zufelt, Ryan Hodgens and Megan Hall have graduated and are off to higher pursuits, the Wildcats returning are running like … OK, the wind.

Nathan Wellington and Jenica Dodge aren’t leaving much to chance. The two seniors placed one-two at the Oakmont Invite in their season openers. However, the team is young and will need some time to develop.

The ‘Cats did no worse than fourth in any division, including frosh/soph. The varsity girls took second out of 11 teams and the frosh/soph boys came in third out of 13 schools.

Three teams that cannot be overlooked are the football junior varsity clubs of all three schools. Although Rocklin did lose its game at Oak Ridge, the combined scoring of the Thunder, Wildcats and Zebras is 219-56.

It’s a little too early to tell just how well the boys soccer teams will fare, but it is my prediction Lincoln will do quite well under new head coach George Bonilla.

Coach Bonilla did not coach the Zebras last season, but two years ago as the JV coach, his club was 21-1-1. Now, that’s impressive.

 Rocklin’s girls tennis team has also been putting up some solid numbers under head coach Dale Ecklund. For the first time, the Thunder knocked off Granite Bay and that’s no small task.

Whatever your sport and school get out and support your local team or athlete. High school athletics has come a long way and you won’t be disappointed with the level of talent out there.