Friday, October 02, 2015

Robards (Elk Grove) 42, Grant 7

Week Five Scores:

Elk Grove 42, Grant 7
Franklin 24, Sheldon 7
Pleasant Grove 32, Monterey Trail 26
Cosumnes Oaks 28, Roseville 0
Kennedy 40, Valley 0
Bradshaw Christian 44, Vacaville Christian 0

In one of their most dominant halves of football ever played against a quality opponent, Elk Grove scored 35 points in the opening two quarters and handed Grant its first regular season loss in two years Friday night with a 42-7 Delta League victory.

And, in perhaps one of the best individual performances ever by a local football player, the Herd’s Ryan Robards scored all of his team’s touchdowns. Three were via rushing, along with 176 yards gained on 25 carries. Two more touchdowns were scored defensively – one on a 70-yard interception return for a score and the other a fumble recovery and return - and then Robards tacked on a 75-yard punt return for a TD.

“I told a couple kids (before the game) this was the time for me to prove the kind of football player I really am,” Robards said. “A big game like this, at Grant, I played well so I’ll take it.”

Robards, who was the center of numerous post-game interviews by scribes and television reporters from throughout the region afterwards, will add this performance to an impressive resume he’s already built this fall.
EG's Ryan Robards who scored six TD's in the Herd's 42-7 romp over Grant

In week two, he gained 277 yards on just 20 carries and scored three TD’s along with a receiving touchdown in a 41-14 win over Lincoln of Stockton. Plus, Robards had an interception and kicked a pair of field goals, including one for 51 yards.

In week three the senior three-sport athlete had 188 yards rushing on 16 carries and two TD’s in Elk Grove’s 48-14 win over Yuba City.  He also returned an interception for a score.

Then last week in the Herd’s 55-0 pasting of Davis, Robards had 200 yards rushing on just 15 carries with three TD’s and tacked on a 64-yard punt return for a score.

A beaming Chris Nixon didn’t hold back the accolades not only for Robards, but also for his club’s complete dominance over a team most thought was the best team in the Delta once again.

“It’s as dominate a half that I’ve been a part of at Elk Grove,” he said. “But it was strange in how it happened. (Offensive line coach Moe Loller) and I were looking at each other saying, ‘We have only nine or ten offensive plays in the first half.’ That’s what’s been going on with this team, scoring on defense, scoring on special teams.”

Equally as complimentary afterwards was Grant’s legendary coach Mike Alberghini.

                See Photos from the game on the Elk Grove Sports Corner Facebook site

“(Robards) is a hell of a player and that is a great team,” he said as he was shaking the hands of Steve Robards, Ryan’s father.

The elder Robards was honored by the compliment coming from a man who has seen and coached many great football players over the years.

“This was as good a half as I’ve ever seen one individual play,” Alberghini told him.

The Robards’ assault got started almost right away when Grant quarterback Michael Cook was intercepted by Robards and he sprinted 70 yards untouched for Elk Grove’s first score just three minutes into the contest.

Near the end of the opening quarter, Robards capped an 80-yard drive with a two yard run to break a 7-7 tie.

On the ensuing possession, Elk Grove defensive lineman Aiden Martinez tipped Cook’s pass intended for David Moala in the right flat up in the air. Robards wisely scooped up the ball on the first bounce and scampered into the end zone. The game officials ruled the pass was thrown backward and thus the deflection was a live ball. Robards’ touchdown was ruled a fumble recovery and return for a touchdown.

That made the score 21-7, Elk Grove with 10:21 remaining in the second quarter.
#54 Lau Ta'amu gets advice from def. coordinator Jeff Carlson

The Herd’s tight defense forced Grant to punt. Robards received the kick at his own 25 yard line, spun out of the arm of a Grant defender, picked up three quick blocks and sailed down the right sideline to give Elk Grove a 28-7 lead.

On Elk Grove’s next possession, Robards sprinted up the middle virtually untouched for a 35-7 lead that the Herd took with them into halftime.

He had 125 yards rushing on just ten carries midway through the game, but his all-around play notched his name into the annuls of Herd football as one of great single-game performances.

“Lance Briggs had some special games, but Ryan Robards is pretty special himself,” Nixon said. “He’s not just a two-way guy on both sides of the ball. He kicks off and puts the ball into the end zone. Field goals, punts, punt returns. It’s pretty amazing he isn’t recruited as much as he should be.”

He also commented on how well the offensive line blocked against a Grant front with plenty of big guys.

“The Hammerheads are really doing a great job,” Nixon said. “I can’t say enough about those six guys up front.”

The Pacers’ roster lists six boys that weigh 300 pounds or more.
Off. Line coach Moe Loller 

The last time Grant had lost in the regular season was Oct. 18, 2013 when Elk Grove beat the Pacers, 7-3.

They were a perfect 14-0 last season and won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship. Grant entered the game with a 4-0 mark including last week’s 27-0 shutout of Franklin.

But on Friday night, the Pacers looked at times like a team in shock. Numerous false starts and delay-of-game penalties were flagged against Grant, particularly in the second quarter as Elk Grove dominated the action.

And, it got even more embarrassing when the Pacers were flagged at the beginning of the third quarter for lingering in the locker room too long at halftime. The referee paced off 15 yards against the Pacers for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Grant had to kick off the third quarter from their own 25. That gave Elk Grove a short field to drive down the field and conclude the drive with Robards’ 1-yard dive for the Herd’s final score of the game.

The fourth quarter was played with a running clock because of Elk Grove’s 35-point margin.

Elk Grove, now 2-0 in league play, will host Jesuit this Friday.

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