Herd

Photos by Ben Brown

Running back Hunter Hall takes the handoff and is brought down by Zachary Mainer. Hall had three rushing touchdowns in the victory last Friday.

As the regular season is starting to come to an end, there is still a ton to be decided in the Delta League.

Coming into last week, four teams were separated by only half a game atop the league.

One of those teams was Elk Grove, which lost its first game since week one two weeks ago to Jesuit 38-35 on a last-minute touchdown. The Thundering Herd knew, if they wanted to become Delta League champions for the first time since 2016, a loss to Franklin resulting in back-to-back losses would just about knock them out of contention.

With that in mind, Elk Grove would not disappoint against the Wildcats.

With the game tied at 13 in the second quarter, Elk Grove was able to make adjustments and capitalize on big plays en route to scoring 47-consecutive points and beat Franklin 60-13 last Friday at Cosumnes Oaks High School.

“The kids did a great job in executing what we wanna do and we made some adjustments early in the game, which the kids took advantage of,” said Elk Grove head coach John Heffernan “The performance out there was huge tonight.”

The Thundering Herd had the triple option rushing attack clicking right from the get go. Running back Tre’Von Frazier took Elk Grove’s first offensive play of the game 71 yards for a touchdown, which was just the beginning for Elk Grove’s big plays.

Elk Grove had four touchdown runs of over 50 yards, two of which came from running back Hunter Hall in the third quarter and scored on all but one possession offensively.

“The key for us is trying to get everybody ready to play so when a situation comes where somebody is down, then that person is ready to play and play at a high level,” Heffernan said.

Giving up big plays on defense is something Franklin is not used to doing. Two weeks ago, the Wildcats were able to slow down Cosumnes Oaks and only give up seven points while on their way to upsetting the Wolfpack 14-7. The 60 points given up to Elk Grove was a season high for Franklin.

“They completely outperformed us in every way and that’s on me as a coach first and foremost,” said Franklin head coach Evan Boylan.

“We were able to get the run game going and get ahead of the chains for a little bit, which gave us some good chances early but we got down and started pressing from that point.”

Elk Grove’s victory over Franklin means they are now 6-2 on the season, and the victory turned out to be a big one because of other results within the Delta League. Last week, Davis was able to beat Jesuit 24-20 and knock Jesuit down the Delta League standings and essentially take them out of the running for the Delta League crown with two losses.

Because of a head-to-head victory over Davis 42-35 on Sept. 20, Elk Grove has the top spot in the Delta League as it stands with one league game left against Cosumnes Oaks this week. If the Thundering Herd are able to defeat the Wolfpack, Elk Grove will be guaranteed to win the Delta League.

“We just have to take care of us and if we can take care of ourselves and the football then I think we will have a good chance,” Heffernan said.

“Cosumnes Oaks are a great football team that are very athletic and can create a lot of problems.”

Cosumnes Oaks are coming into the matchup against Elk Grove well rested since they were on a bye last week.

Franklin will look to regroup and put in a performance more like their victory over the Wolfpack from two weeks ago and not like their game last week against Elk Grove. The Wildcats, now at 3-5 overall, will host Davis, which will not be an easy matchup. The Blue Devils come in at 7-1.

“Davis are doing a really good job and they run a lot of cool concepts offensively,” Boylan said.

“They have a good quarterback that can make plays, and they are the biggest team in the league so it will be quite the challenge.”