Skip to main content

Elk Grove Citizen

Casa Roble demolishes Dixon to win Golden Empire League

Oct 29, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Shaun Holkko, sports editor

The Casa Roble varsity football team poses for a photo after a 41-14 win against Dixon in the Golden Empire League championship game on Friday, October 28 in Orangevale.

Casa Roble demolishes Dixon to win Golden Empire League [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) – Many early morning practices and dedication to their craft paid off Friday night for the Casa Roble varsity football team as the Rams were crowned champions of the Golden Empire League.

In a clash of the Rams, Casa demolished Dixon and prevailed 41-14. Both teams came into the game at 8-1 overall and 4-0 in league play.

All season there has been a debate about who the best team in the GEL was, whether it was the reigning champions from Dixon or Casa who came into the game on an eight-game winning streak. Following the game on Friday, October 28, the answer to that question was clear, the Rams that run the GEL hail from Orangevale.

“It means the world to us. Ever since February we were just grinding it out on the field. Ever since February, it was all leading up to this moment right here,” said Casa senior running back Josh Taylor. “This is what we worked for (but) I think we deserve it as well. Nobody works like us.

“We’re out here in the morning, 7:15, putting in that work and nobody will outwork us, we’re the best.”

Casa got going early, as Taylor broke multiple tackles and stumbled on a 19-yard rush into the end zone on 4th and 1 nearly seven minutes into the game. Casa’s next score was set up quickly by junior Logan March who intercepted Dixon senior quarterback Jett Harris 25-seconds after Casa’s first touchdown.

The Rams of Orangevale took advantage of the costly mistake as sophomore quarterback Connor Campbell found junior wide receiver Cole Owens for the 27-yard score on 3rd and 6. Owens has been one of the team’s best players all season and was given the nickname “Cyborg” by Casa coach Chris Horner.

RELATED: Rams win at Pioneer to set up showdown for GEL crown

The remainder of the first half included multiple punts, a blocked field goal by Dixon and Campbell with two turnovers, one interception and one lost fumble. However, Dixon struggled to get into the end zone, leaving the score 14-0 Casa at halftime.

Casa took a decisive advantage midway through the third quarter when junior outside linebacker Evan Combs intercepted Harris. Combs looked like he was going to go down several times. Nevertheless, broken tackle after broken tackle, the junior ran all the way into the end zone for six.

Dixon finally got on the scoreboard with 3:43 left in the third period, when Harris found senior wide receiver Brent Green for a nine-yard score. Dixon attempted an onside kick to get back into the game, but it failed, subsequently giving Casa great field position to start its next drive.

Recent varsity call-up, sophomore running back Braylen Blevins, got into the action in the second half after Taylor hurt his knee, scoring twice on the ground.

“My buddy Braylen Blevins, he was kicking a** tonight,” Taylor said. “He’s a sophomore, he got pulled up and I’m proud of that dude so much. And the (offensive) line as well, such great players, such a great family that we have here.”

In between Blevins’ two scores, Dixon senior running back Braden Baumbach rushed in for a touchdown from two yards out.

The final scoring play of the game came with 5:24 remaining. Owens set it up with an interception defensively. On the next offensive play, Owens bobbled and hauled in a 70-yard bomb from Campbell for his second touchdown of the night. Casa ultimately won 41-14 to cement themselves in history as league champions.

Owens had a monster performance with seven catches for 159 yards and two scores, plus the interception on defense.

“Is Cole Owens not the greatest football player to watch? He’s so much freaking fun to watch, man,” Casa coach Chris Horner told the American River Messenger seconds after the win. “He’s such a good kid, he’s humble, tosses the ball back to the official (and says) ‘let’s go play football again.’ He’s amazing.”

RELATED: Casa Roble graduate returns to alma mater for Spring Break

Campbell finished 10-of-15 passing for 232 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The sophomore added four carries for 49 yards on the ground. Fellow sophomore, Blevins, racked up a game-high 103 rushing yards on 11 attempts with two scores in his first varsity game. Taylor tallied 13 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Horner said on Friday night that his team planned to “sit in the student union, ice our boo-boos, take some Motrin for the inflammation and find out who the heck we’re playing,” on Sunday afternoon when the playoff brackets were revealed.

Casa discovered its postseason fate on October 30 when the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section released its playoff brackets. The Rams are the No. 2 seed in the Division IV bracket and have earned a first-round bye. Casa will play the winner of No. 7 Capital Christian versus No. 10 Wood.

“The team’s mindset is, we knew (on Friday night) that we had to play in a dominating fashion because we need that first round bye, we needed it,” Horner explained. “We need to get healthy and get our minds straight, we’re a young football team. These guys play hard (and) are pretty freaking good at football, it’s fun to watch.”

Casa will host the second round of the playoffs on November 11 at 7 p.m.