The roll, continues LHS crushes Chico
Offsetting season-injuries to two star players, Lassen High School's football team remained undefeated courtesy of an impressive 42-0 homecoming victory over Chico Friday, Sept. 21. "The guys really did impressed me. That by far was our best game of the season, and probably the most dominating performance I can remember in a long, long time," Lassen head coach Tom St. Jacques said. "Hopefully we can keep the momentum and take that type of play into what will be our two toughest games of the regular season."
The Grizzlies wasted no time putting the Panthers away, scoring in the opening two minutes of the game.
Lassen quarterback John Black continued to impress, hitting Cody Frailey on a 59-yard pass play which led to Frailey's 15-yard sprint into the end zone.
Seconds later, Chico followed with a fumble and Ross Sobierajski extended the Grizzlies' lead on a four-yard touchdown run.
It just kept getting uglier for the Panthers. Black hit Frailey again on a pass play to the five-yard line and from there Sobierajski crossed the goal line.
Ryan Marshall then reeled in a 14-yard touchdown pass; Sobierajski scored again from a yard out, and Black found Ben Baker for a 35-yard scoring toss to put an end to the carnage with 42 seconds left in the first half.
St. Jacques pulled his starters at halftime, getting every player in the game.
"I was pleased all the way around, but especially proud of how our defense played," he said. "I was in awe of how our kids were flying around hitting people. They intimidated Chico and completely took them out of their offense."
Lassen held Chico (1-3) to negative yards offense - the first time the Grizzlies have done that in three years.
"People tell me we've never ever beaten Chico that bad. It feels good, and to do it with players that don't always get a lot of playing time," St. Jacques said.
"Filling in" will be critical for Lassen the rest of the way.
The team learned that preseason All-Northern Section running back Taylor Polan is lost for the season. His strained anterior cruciate ligament is too tendered and doctors said he needs several weeks to let it heel.
"(The doctors) said he is going to need at least two months for it to return to normal. If he came back and got hit, then the damage could be severe," St. Jacques said. "We still have a season to play though. We're just going to have to call on the guys we have and rally around them."
If losing Polan wasn't bad enough, wide receiver is gone for the year. The senior cut off the tip of one of his fingers in a freak accident during homecoming festivities last week. The severed portion of his finger was sewn back on, and this week, doctors will determine if the wound will heal properly.
"I don't know how to explain it," St. Jacques said. "It's like someone up above is telling us something. Losing those two guys is really going to test this team. And as for those two guys it's a shame for them to end up their high school careers this way. They've been a big part of our program and set good examples for other players."
Well, the core of Lassen's offense did there job trying to erase the frustration. Black's play was nearly flawless, completing five of seven passes for 138 yards. In two games he has connected on 12 of 16 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns.
"John is really coming along. We're going to need that type of play in the upcoming weeks," St. Jacques said.
Sobierajski led the balanced ground attack with 61 yards in seven carries. E.J. Persons rushed for 50 yards in six carries, and Frailey finished with 31 yards in five carries.
"Those ran hard and played with real toughness," St. Jacques said.
Meanwhile, the special teams unit keeps improving. Kicker Mitch Lively showed off his strong leg, launching bombs into the end zone on kickoffs.
The preseason ends this Friday in Redding. Lassen travels to Foothill to battle one of the section's more potent offenses.
Head coach Mark Pettengill has a ton of returning starters, including running back Tony LaRussa, defensive line standout Nick Knauss and all-league lineman Vince Zamora.
Other Cougars to look out for are safety Beau Bobich, cornerback Jeff Loveless and all-league offensive guard Matt Williams.
"They run the ball extremely well and are huge. The guys on the front line average about 290 pounds," St. Jacques said. "I've thought all year long they would be a serious contender to win a title and I feel even stronger about that now. We're going to have to play our best to beat them to say the least."
Foothill enters the game at 3-1 following a 23-14 loss to Enterprise last Friday. The Cougars have extra incentive to beat Lassen on their homecoming as last year's junior varsity Grizzlies buried Foothill 55-0.
"Trust me, they'll be ready for us," St. Jacques said.
After Foothill comes the start of Westside League play.
The Grizzlies will host Gridley Friday, Oct. 5 and travel to Corning the following Friday. Lassen then plays Orland at home, and Oroville and Las Plumas on the road.
"I think we have a good shot at a league title, but Corning is going to be very strong," said St. Jacques, who has led the Grizzlies to back-to-back league titles.
"Even if we beat Corning we still have to get past Las Plumas who has had a great preseason."
Like Lassen, Corning is undefeated at 4-0. The Cardinals stomped Pleasant Valley, a serious contender for the Division I crown, 42-28 last Friday.
Other scores across the section last week include Red Bluff topping Yreka 27-24, Eureka over West Valley 21-14, Sutter over Gridley 32-6, Rio Vista defeating Durham,, Winters beating Biggs, Oroville beating Paradise 10-7, and Orland over Colusa 34-9.
Lassen's junior varsity team fell to 2-2 following a loss to Chico.
The freshmen also lost to the Panthers.