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Trojans eager to face Grant

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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The scoreboard at Oak Ridge High hadn’t even been turned off yet following Oak Ridge’s 49-0 win over Washington on Saturday and everyone had already turned their attention to the next opponent. On Friday the Grant Pacers, the 1-2 Grant Pacers, travel to El Dorado Hills and will be as fired up as ever as they look to break a two-game losing streak. The Pacers, mind you, rarely lose two games in a season let alone in a row, so Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere, his staff and the Trojans will have their team ready. “Grant is so fun to play because they make you better,” Cavaliere said. “They bring so much energy and it’s fun and exciting to play them.” While Cavaliere enjoys playing Grant, make no mistake, beating them would be even better and that’s what the Trojans intend to do. “We’re going to have to be consistent on offense and not get in long-yardage situations,” Cavaliere said. “Defensively, Grant’s all about the big play and we’re going to have to stop them from happening.” Oak Ridge improved to 3-0 on Saturday night with a 49-0 shutout over Washington High from Fremont. Jason Samuels threw four touchdown passes, three to Byron Spain, as the Trojans dominated the Huskies in every way a team can. It was just the performance the Oak Ridge coaching staff was hoping to see. “I’m proud of the way we played,” Cavaliere said. “We played at our level and when the second and third-string guys were in there they executed and preserved the shutout. We tell them that whoever is on the field is the starter and the expectation is the same for everyone.” Oak Ridge took little time lighting up the scoreboard. Seven plays into the game, Samuels hooked up with Spain on a 17-yard score just 2:21 into the game. Ryan Lamb’s extra point made it 7-0. After forcing Washington to punt, it took the Trojans another seven plays before Samuels and Spain worked their magic again, this time from 31 yards out, and Lamb’s extra point made it 14-0 seven minutes in the game. The Trojans’ special teams put the next points on the board, as Thomas Mahlman blocked a punt, picked it up and returned it 24 yards for the third touchdown of the game and the Trojans led 21-0 after one quarter. Samuels and Spain hooked up for the final time early in the second quarter on another 17-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-0. “We showed what we can do tonight,” Spain said. “Our offense had been struggling and not getting a lot of looks, but we came out strong tonight. The offensive line did a good job giving Jason time and Jason made good throws and I made the catches. This game will definitely help our confidence.” Cavaliere was glad to see his offense hit its stride and was impressed with the Samuels-to-Spain combination. “They’re best friends off the field and two very good players on it,” Cavaliere said. “They played tonight on a Saturday and I expect them to be playing on Saturdays next year in college.” Samuels’ fourth and final touchdown came late in the first half and was the most impressive of all his throws. Rolling to his left and nearing the sideline, Samuels spotted Brad Buenzli in the back of the end zone and took a big hit on his follow through but earned the score. Oak Ridge led 35-0 at the half and the teams played with a running clock for the remainder of the game. The Trojans picked up two more touchdowns on runs by Blake Martin (22 yards) and Josh Wellman (10 yards). Even six days out just minutes after beating Washington, the Trojans were psyched for Grant. “This place is going to be electric on Friday,” Spain said. “They’ve lost two games in a row and they’re going to come out hard. It’s going to take an all-team effort to get the win.”