Friday, October 31, 2014

Wolfpack Wins CVC Championship Behind Smothering Defense

Just four months ago Derick Milgrim was looking forward to coaching the Cosumnes Oaks’ running backs this fall. Then one day prior to leaving on a family vacation in July he finds out his long-time friend, Ryan Gomes, was relieved of his job as head football coach of the Wolfpack.

Milgrim was asked to continue the success Cosumnes Oaks had witnessed the previous five seasons by becoming the interim head coach, just the second head football coach in the school’s brief history.
Cosumnes Oaks' football coach Derick Milgrim

Now flash forward to Halloween night and Milgrim was all smiles as his team officially wrapped up its first Capital Valley Conference championship with a 55-7 smearing of Whitney.

He admitted after a brief team post-game huddle at Cosumnes Oaks/ Franklin Stadium the Wolfpack could have emotionally fallen apart back in July upon Gomes’ dismissal, but instead chose to stick together.

“I just think this team has a lot of heart,” Milgrim said. “There’s lots of guys on this team with great character and they weren’t going to let something out of their control ruin their senior year, ruin their team.”

Plus, it was big for Cosumnes Oaks to win this particular game because it was Whitney that eliminated the Wolfpack from the playoffs two out of the past three years.

“It meant something to all the guys in the program,” he said. “It means something to some of our alumni that have had their seasons end to Whitney. Every year is a different team and they are a little bit down this year and we’re playing pretty well, but it’s good to know that if there was a jinx with them, then we’ve gotten over that.”

 -- Friday's Scores --
Cosumnes Oaks 55, Whitney 0
Elk Grove 35, Franklin 6
Grant 66, Davis 6
Pleasant Grove 23, Sheldon 9
Laguna Creek 42, McClatchy 0
Folsom 42, Oak Ridge 7
Bradshaw Chr. 59, Highlands 8
Kennedy 51, Florin 41
Saturday: Monterey Trail vs. Jesuit
Valley at Johnson

Now 7-2 with one final CVC game next Friday at Ponderosa, Cosumnes Oaks can tie for its best regular season mark ever, go a perfect 7-0 in league and find itself a team with momentum going into the playoffs.

Once again, defense spelled doom for another Cosumnes Oaks opponent. The Wolfpack held Whitney to only 38 yards total offense and no first downs through the first three quarters while sprinting out to a 55-0 lead.

Milgrim credits defensive coordinator Lew Lassetter, the former Laguna Creek head coach, with the Wolfpacks’ success this fall. Cosumnes Oaks has now held CVC opponents to an average of 10 points a game.

“That was an amazing defensive performance,” Milgrim said. “It continued what we’ve been doing the past five or six weeks, playing tremendously. Guys know their assignments now, they know where to line up. They are playing well together.”

But the offense looked every bit as good Friday thanks to a near perfect performance by quarterback Jaaron Stallworth. The senior was nine-for-nine passing for 208 yards and four TD’s, including an 81-yard bomb to Sammy Gray on the first play of the game.

“I think we’re clicking right now,” Stallworth said. “I felt good out there.”
Jaaron Stallworth, right, with brother Keoni

Stallworth also scored a pair of touchdowns on quarterback sneaks.

“The O-Line gave him time to find his receivers, make his reads and everything was clicking tonight,” Milgrim said.

Raphael Lewis caught three passes for 64 yards and three TD’s. Dante Davis caught seven balls for 64 yards while Cevon Mitchell had nine receptions for 46 yards.

Before the running game clock was turned on in the fourth quarter, Cosumnes Oaks rang up 428 yards total offense with 17 first downs.

Milgrim thinks the Wolfpack stands a good chance now of making some noise in the post-season whether they play in Division I or Division II.

“It doesn’t matter whether we are in D-1 or D-2,” he said. “There are some phenomenal teams in both divisions. So, it’s going to be a challenge. We’re looking forward to finishing the season right against Ponderosa and then whatever happens after that we’ll look forward to that challenge.”

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