ELK GROVE ELBOWS PAST NEVADA UNION

They say it often takes the first three weeks of a season to separate the wheat from the chaff. If that's the case, then in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section football this season, Elk Grove is definitely a cut above.

The Thundering Herd hosted 2-0 Nevada Union of Grass Valley on Friday and used a balanced offense and a strong kicking game to upend the Miners, 38-14. Elk Grove's impressive win might allow it to move up a bit in next week's state and NorCal rankings. The Herd came into the game at No. 15 in the state and No. 5 in NorCal, according to CalHiSports.com.

Nevada Union was coming off a 38-22 win over a Granite Bay squad that won its opener, 19-6, over defending Div. I section champ Lincoln of Stockton. But the Miners were never in it against Elk Grove. They only had 15 yards offense in their first four possessions and by that time the Herd was already ahead, 21-0.

Elk Grove's big first half was keyed by the pass-catch combination of quarterback Brandon Gross to receiver Tony Kays. The two paired up on a beautiful high-arching corner route for a 13-yard touchdown with 4:49 left in the first quarter and hooked up on a 38-yard streak route with just seven seconds left before halftime. That gave Elk Grove a 28-0 lead, which grew to 35-0 midway through the third quarter on a 19-yard touchdown run by Aaron White.

Nevada Union's highlight was a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Thor Juell after White's touchdown. Juell's score mean't the Miners would continue their streak of scoring at least once in a game to 204 straight games. They have not been shut out since 1984 and their consecutive games scoring streak may soon be the second-longest in state history. St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs is currently second on the list at 207, but that streak ended in 1983. The current state record of 258 is held by De La Salle of Concord and it is an ongoing streak that began in 1979.

Gross finished with 14 completions in 21 attempts for 202 yards and three touchdowns. Kays had eight catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

Another big edge for Elk Grove was the kicking and punting of Clinton Languimi. He had two punts of more than 50 yards and nailed a 42-yard field goal that looked like it might have been good from 50 yards out.

In another key game in Northern California on Friday night, Mitty of San Jose downed Oak Grove of San Jose 20-6. Oak Grove came into the game ranked No. 1 in the Central Coast Section. Mitty was No. 3.


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