The Casa Roble Rams players laughed at the Knights as they walked into the Whitney High School locker room on Saturday morning, and the Knights made them pay for it with a 63-14 thrashing in which Casa Roble, the #3 seed going into the playoffs and the Golden Empire League champions, never once took the lead.
Rio Linda set the tone of the game early, when Abraham “Money In The” Banks took the opening kickoff 90 yards for a 7-0 lead.
On the first Casa Roble possession, Knights junior defensive lineman Eddie Rabuku blocked a Rams field-goal, and running back Cameron Skattebo grabbed it up to run 75 yards for a touchdown.
After a missed point-after attempt, the Knights led 13-0, and had yet to take possession of the ball on offence.
There was still 10 minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Knights kept their foot on the gas the rest of the game, allowing only two Casa Roble scores. The first half ended at 56-14.
The Rio Linda defence swarmed the ball, gang tackled, disrupted and intercepted passes, and caused fumbles, while the Rams offence never found solid footing on the Whitney High School field. In fact, to punctuate the defensive performance, junior DB Johnny Serrano intercepted a Casa Roble pass in the endzone with 33 seconds remaining in the first half, then held Casa Roble to a shutout in the second half.
Cameron Skattebo finished the game with 313 yards, and now needs only 86 yards to reach 3,000 for the season, which hasn’t been accomplished in the Sac-Joaquin section since Onterrio Smith (Grant HS) did it 20 years ago. In the first half, he scored a touchdown on three consecutive carries for 20, 49 and 62 yards.
In talking about Skattebo’s running style on the sidelines, we decided that Cameron dishes out as much punishment as he receives; if you’re going to tackle him, you better be prepared to get more than you give. This is an extraordinarily special player… and he’s a junior. Like the Terminator, He’ll be back.
Skattebo ended the game with 7 touchdowns, five rushing, one field goal return, and one receiving on a nifty pass by Tyson Ybarra, who completed the first three passes he threw, including a 60 yard touchdown strike to Banks.
The final score ended up 63-14, giving the Knights their first Sac-Joaquin Section Championship since Michael Morris coached them to a title in 2004. Current Head Coach Jack Garceau was a member of that coaching staff as well.
Our Knights now head north to Cottonwood, California to face the West Valley Eagles in the NorCal Regional title game. West Valley won the Northern Section title on Friday night, in a 7-0 defensive struggle over Sutter.
The NorCal Regional title game is Friday night, December 7th, 7:30pm at West Valley High School in Cottonwood, just south of Redding.
Other notes: It was a nice showing in the grandstands for a neutral site game. The very large Whitney home stands were 2/3 full of Rio Linda fans. Retired RLHS counsellor Deanna Trammel performed our national anthem, and did very well. To see the video shot during the game, including Banks’ 90 yard touchdown kickoff run, visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/riolindaonline/
Cover photo courtesy TRUSD/Zenobia Gerald