by Mike Finnerty (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Saturday afternoon at Roseville High School, the Elk Grove Jr. Thundering Herd midget division team beat the Woodland Jr. Wolves, 24-0, to capture the Sierra Valley USA youth football title.
The win not only secured the title for Elk Grove, but it capped off a perfect 11-0 season that included a two-game post season where the defense held their opponents scoreless.
Elk Grove head coach Patrick Brown knew he would need a big game from his defense with his team beating Woodland by only two points (16-14) during the regular season.
"They're a scary team because they've got a quarterback that's just a great athlete and we knew defensively that we had to stop him to win this game and our defense did a great job," said Brown.
Jr. Thundering Herd running back Blake McBeth continued his season long dominance on the ground with a pair of first half touchdown runs.
The first score came on a one-yard run early in the second, and then McBeth was at it again late in the half when he sprinted 23 yards up the middle of the field for Elk Grove's second touchdown and a 16-0 lead at the break.
In the second half Elk Grove's defense bent, but didn't break, while running back Arsenio Ayala helped extend the Jr. Herd lead to 24-0 thanks to a nine-yard touchdown run that came with 7:23 left in the third quarter.
Elk Grove was anything but one dimensional this season.
With a running game that featured the likes of McBeth and Ayala, and a passing game highlighted by the big arm talents of quarterback Tyler Vander Waal, opponents were left to pick their poison.
Said Brown, "That's really nice about our program because we get a lot of kids with a bunch of skill sets, and then our coaches do such a great job of getting them to the point where you can see them execute what they did today."
Sierra Valley USA championship results:
at Roseville High School
Elk Grove 24, Woodland 0 (midgets)
Grant 14, Elk Grove 12 (jr. midgets)
Franklin 36, Woodland, 12 (pee wee)
Elk Grove 14, Placer 0 (jr. pee wee)
at Granite Bay High School
Capital Christian 19, Franklin 14 (midgets)
Franklin 36, Lincoln 0, (jr. midgets)
Granite Bay 38, Antelope 7 (pee wee)
Franklin 13, Lincoln (jr. pee wee)