Another tough foe awaits Eagles

By: Mike Ray and Sara Seyydin, Gold Country News Services
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Another Friday night and another strong opponent awaits the Del Oro Golden Eagles football team. This storyline in Loomis is starting to become “old hat” for the Golden Eagle gridders but with a stressful Sierra Foothill League season opening just three weeks away, the rugged preseason tests are more than welcome. “Oak Ridge is about as balanced of a team as we’ve seen this season,” said Del Oro coach Casey Taylor as he readied his squad earlier this week’s for Friday’s with the Trojans from El Dorado Hills. “They’ve got a good quarterback, an excellent receiver in Collie (Dylan), good backs and play good defense,” Taylor added. “It will be another tough one.” Kickoff in Loomis on Friday is set for 7;30 p.m. with the Trojans bringing a perfect 3-0 win to town with them. Oak Ridge began the season with wins over Vista del Lago and Rocklin before rolling Cordova, 59-0, last week. The Trojans feature a nice 1-2 running punch in the form of fullback Preston Dean (7.76 yards per carry) and sophomore Josh Wellman. At quarterback, Oak Ridge is led by Jason Samuels who is hitting on 60 per cent of his aerials. Samuels’ big target is Dylan Collie, who has verbally committed to play at BYU next season. Collie is the younger brother of Indianapolis Colts receiver Austin Collie. In last Friday’s action, revenge tasted sweet for Del Oro as they turned their highly-anticipated match-up against Clovis West into a full-on assault on its way to a 52-18 victory. With last year’s crushing defeat at the hands of Fresno powerhouse Clovis West (0-1 overall) still fresh in their minds, Del Oro (2-1) decided to dish up a defeat the Division I school wouldn’t soon forget. Del Oro senior Blake Covey was off the field last year with a broken collarbone, but he wanted redemption as bad as anyone else. Covey said Del Oro channeled those emotions into their resolve to win this year. For his part, Covey bagged a triumphant interception in the fourth quarter. He said being injured last season makes him even more grateful to be on the field now. “It broke my heart to just have to sit out and watch all my friends play,” Covey said. “I was excited to hit and go.” Leading the onslaught in the first quarter was senior Nick O’Sullivan. Backed by an unshakable offensive-line, O’Sullivan cruised in for the Del Oro’s first touchdown. That would be the first of two touchdowns for him. O’Sullivan brought things full-circle and scored the last of the game too. That combined with his 21 carries and 114 yards, helped keep the offense rolling. Senior quarterback Bobby Heatherington vowed Thursday he’d get in the game and take care of business against Clovis West, still carrying a bit of vendetta from last year’s loss. It was mission accomplished for Heatherington, who had 9 completions for 14 tries and a total of 210 passing yards. One of those completions, a stunning 38-yard pass to senior Daniel Thomas was good for a touchdown. His connections to the hands of senior wide receiver Russell Smith were also golden, accounting for two-touchdowns “Bobby was shooting laser beams,” Covey said of his teammate. Smith was a workhorse for Del Oro, with three carries and two touchdowns. One, a 56-yard play in the 2nd quarter, gave the home Golden Eagles a solid lead. Smith also did some heavy lifting on defense, rushing for 37 yards of his 132 total yards. Smith said the victory was truly one of teamwork. “We played with heart,” Smith said. “I don’t think it was any one person. We were all out there to win it.” Consistently leading the offensive line were seniors Kevin Love, Zach Heath and Logan Lamb. Senior kicker Skylar Rand kicked flawlessly on extra-point duties. Senior quarterback Ian Hall pulled most of the weight for Clovis West. He had one of two touchdowns for the visiting Golden Eagles.