Rio Linda and her community have been called many things.
Today, we’ll settle for “Champions”.
On Saturday night, a standing room only crowd filled the Marion Adams Memorial Stadium to bursting and watched the Rio Linda Knights dismantle the San Gorgonio Spartans to claim the CIF State Division 5-AA Football crown.
The score ended up 38-35, but it was never that close.
Junior running back sensation Cameron Skattebo began dismantling the Spartan defense from the very first Knights possession. On a 2nd and 5 from about the 30 yard line, Skattebo made a miraculous, rambling, 2nd, 3rd and 4th effort run to the endzone, leaving a trail of broken Spartan defenders behind him.
The run has been called everything from amazing and awesome to inhumane. MaxPreps said it was a play of the year candidate. Whatever it was, it set the tone for the rest of a game that San Gorgonio never led.
The Spartans would answer back quickly with a 1-yard dive from Elijah Hall, tying the game at 7 all, mid first quarter.
Jamone Gates would put Rio Linda on top 14-7 with a 1-yard run with just seconds left in the 1st quarter.
The half ended with a flurry of whistles from the referees. At one point, Rio Linda was hit with penalties on five consecutive plays.
With about 2 minutes left in the half, Cameron Skattebo would make his way to the end zone again, giving the Knights a 21-7 lead heading into the locker room.
The third quarter was a flurry of scoring, with two touchdowns by San Gorgonio, and two from Rio Linda, courtesy of Cameron Skattebo and a 40-yard run from Abraham Banks.
Rio Linda’s Andres Paez Ponce kicked a field goal early in the 4th, which would put them ahead for good. San Gorgonio scored twice in the last 4 minutes, but being out of time outs they could not stop the clock late. Time expired on a Rio Linda possession, and the Knights win, their first State Championship in any sport, ever.
The victory was the eighth in a row for Rio Linda and the Knights ended their season with a record of 13-2.
Cameron Skattebo ended the game with 393 rushing yards, giving him 3550 for the season.
3550 is a school record, a league record, and a section record eclipsing John Bordenkircher’s (Dixon) Sac-Joaquin Section record of 3,458.
He also outdistanced the NorCal record of 3,488 yards set in 2011 by Olito Thompson of Concord.
His 393 yards is an all-division, all-time CIF state finals record, and a new NorCal single game record. Skattebo is now #7 on the all-time State record list.
- Every player who scored in the title game were juniors; Skattebo, Banks, and Gates.
- Rio Linda had no passing yardage in this game.
- TRUSD and RLHS administration had no idea how many people Marion Adams Memorial Stadium could hold, so they sold tickets until they couldn’t fit any more in the stadium. Estimates on attendance range from 4000 to 5000.