Burnett sets record in rout

Junior QB breaks Denham’s single-season passing mark as Hillmen advance to semis
By: Todd Mordhorst and Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writers
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Someone forgot to tell Collin Burnett the wing-T offense is all about the run. Placer High’s junior quarterback quietly set a school record Friday night in the Hillmen’s 43-23 win over Calaveras in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV quarterfinals. Burnett’s 140 passing yards gave him 1,728 on the season and set Placer’s single-season passing record previously held by Greg Denham. It’s fair to point out Burnett has played 12 games this season and Denham played 10 in his record-setting 2004 season. But Burnett’s efficiency has been incredible. He’s amassed his yardage on just 108 pass attempts, averaging more than 16 yards per pass attempt. When he completes a pass, Burnett’s average is an astonishing 27 yards per throw. He’s thrown 15 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Denham attempted 236 passes during his stellar senior season, throwing 15 TD passes and five interceptions. Denham is now the starting quarterback at UC Davis as a junior. --- Placer High coach Joey Montoya was quick to shoot down the idea of the Hillmen (11-1) moving Friday’s home game due to the condition of the LeFebvre Stadium field. The turf is in rough shape in the middle of the field and with the possibility of more rain, it could get worse before Sonora comes to town for a semifinal showdown. But that’s just fine with Montoya. “We’ve played three teams that are used to playing on turf, so we feel like that’s an advantage for us,” Montoya said. Several Placer coaches along with a group of Hillmen football boosters have worked relentlessly to keep the field from getting pounded by the recent rainstorms. But the seven varsity home games, along with 10 freshman and JV games and hundreds of practices have taken their toll on the natural surface. --- Don’t expect Sonora to be intimidated on Friday night, no matter how many Hillmen supporters pack LeFebvre. The Wildcats survived the brutal Valley Oak League gauntlet, emerging with a 5-2 mark to finish third. The VOL is probably the second-toughest league in the section next to the Sierra Foothill League. The league has three teams remaining in the playoffs, including Oakdale and Sierra in the Division III semifinals. Sonora handed Sierra its lone loss of the season on Oct. 23 in Sonora. --- Del Oro High’s thrilling upset of top seed St. Mary’s in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II quarterfinals in Stockton meant more to no Golden Eagle than senior kicker Ian Scott. The left-footed Scott kicked a 40-yard field goal to give Del Oro its first lead late in the third quarter of its 30-29 shocker Friday night. It was only the third field goal in six attempts for Scott, whose principal role in most of the Eagles’ blowouts this fall has been his reliable extra-points. Scott came up short on a 25-yard attempt to break a 21-21 deadlock in the final seconds of regulation against Granite Bay on Oct. 16. Del Oro won the game in overtime minutes later on a short run by tailback Bryce Pratt, but Scott has sought redemption since, especially after missing a big field goal in a 24-21 loss at Rocklin on Nov. 6. Scott’s pivotal kick against the Rams last week was straight and cleared the uprights by several feet. “I just went in figuring that I’d make the kick and it would be key points in the end,” he said. “Everything comes down to the final points. If we don’t make that field goal, we would have lost the game. I’m glad I made the kick. I had to redeem myself from Granite Bay. You’ve got to come in clutch if you’re going to win.” --- It’s taken two extra games and two of his most exceptional performances to do so, but junior quarterback Max Magleby topped older brother Mason’s 2008 passing mark in Stockton. Max’s career-high 251-yard performance against St. Mary’s gives him 1,955 yards in his first varsity season. Mason, who is redshirting at Nevada this fall, completed 121 of 229 passes for 1,863 yards during Del Oro’s disappointing 4-6 campaign last year. Max, the first junior to start for the Eagles since Kevin Will in 2003, is 122-for-178 (68.5 percent) and has thrown for 419 yards in the Eagles’ first two playoff wins. --- The Sac-Joaquin Section clearly made the right move replacing its old playoff format with an enrollment-based system rewarding overall wins in the selection process. Neither Del Oro (10-2) nor Folsom (11-1), the teams that will clash in a Division II semifinal Friday night at Prairie City Stadium, would have advanced to the postseason under the section’s old formula for picking playoff teams. Sonora (10-2), Placer’s formidable foe in the Division IV semifinals, would also have been left out.