Adam O'Malley helped give Larry Calhoun a Texas-sized victory in debut as head coach at Elk Grove on Friday.
O'Malley tossed 5 touchdown passes as the Grenadiers rolled past Highland Park 40-6 in their nonconference football opener at Robert Haskell Stadium in Elk Grove.
"I love coach Calhoun," said O'Malley, who was 12-of-16 for 251 yards. "I felt comfortable out there tonight."
The Elk Grove students section made Calhoun feel right at home as well, waving a Texas state flag and chanting his name all evening.
"They had the Texas flag and I felt right at home," said Calhoun, who moved from Texas this past summer to take over after Brian Doll resigned.
"It is a good start. I couldn't ask for a better start. Not perfect, but pretty dang good. This is football. Once you get inside the lines it isn't any different. These guys know how to play. They are a scrappy bunch of kids."
Elk Grove, which amassed 486 yards of offense, got on the board late in the first quarter to make it 7-0. O'Malley hooked up Mike Bishoff on a 16-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-7 play.
The pair connected again just 49 seconds into the second quarter. This time O'Malley fired a bullet to a wide open Bishoff for a 2-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0.
"It was great day," said Bishoff, who also had a blocked punt, a sack and a pair of quarterback knockdowns. "Our coaches prepared us well. They had us running our routes well and attacking on defense."
O'Malley and John Pass then broke the Giants' back. The duo combined on a 77-yard touchdown pass that O'Malley lofted about 45 yards and Pass caught on a full run and easily outdistanced the Highland Park defenders to make it 21-0 with 7:59 left in the first half.
"I just ran my route and Adam just put it on the spot," Pass said. "It fell in my hands and I caught it and just ran to the end zone."
Elk Grove was not quite done in the second quarter.
Following a fumble recovery by Kishan Patel, Travon Royal scored on 3-yeard run to make it 27-0. The Grens then scored on the next possession as O'Malley threw a 22-yard scoring strike to Pass, who made a spectacular one-handed catch that made it 34-0 with 1:06 left in the first half.
Highland Park then put together its lone scoring drive, tallying on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Sutker to Grant Paley with 7.6 seconds left in the first half to make it 34-6.
O'Malley finished his day early in the fourth quarter when he hooked up with Cody Hood on a 20-yard toss. But despite his 5 touchdown passes, O'Malley was focused on an interception he threw in the end zone in the first quarter.
"It wasn't quite what I wanted," O'Malley said. "That one interception kind of haunts me a bit. I pride myself on not throwing picks. Especially when the check down was open. I will be watching film on that for a long time."