Big plays keyed by turnovers helped boost the Del Oro High School Golden Eagles last Friday night to a 37-7 drubbing of the host Rocklin Thunder, in the second annual “Battle for the Shield” game between the two close rivals. The Golden Eagles and Thunder spent the first quarter getting to know each other before the tide started to turn in the second period, thanks to some big plays by Del Oro’s defense. Two Del Oro interceptions, one by Russell Smith late in the first quarter, led to a Brandon Monroe touchdown run before Austin Soldano picked off a Daniel Kniffin pass in the second stanza to set up the Eagles’ second score – a touchdown pass from Bobby Heatherington to Daniel Thomas – to make the score 14-0. Later in the second quarter, a nice punt return by Monroe left the Golden Eagles with excellent field position. From there, Heatherington hit Smith with a 31-yard scoring pass with just 20 seconds remaining in the half to push Del Oro’s margin to 21-0. In the second half, Rocklin picked up some momentum when Stevin Cisneros intercepted a Heatherington pass, but pinned deep inside its own 10-yard line, the Thunder succumbed when Ashwin Cardenas dropped Thunder running back Marvin Gardner in the end zone for a safety. On the ensuing free kick, a squib boot put the ball at Rocklin’s 49. The Golden Eagles then used the excellent field position to score in just six plays, this time on a pass from Heatherington to Tanner Huber. Rocklin tried to go to the air to get some offense generated, but Monroe snared a Thunder pass and darted 80-yards for Del Oro’s final touchdown. “(We) made some big plays and got some big turnovers, so we got some momentum,” said Del Oro head coach Casey Taylor. “I can’t say enough. The kids came to play and our defense did a great job.” Heatherington had a good passing night, when he hit on 8 of 12 aerials for 168 yards and three scores. On the ground, Monroe was 11 carries for 78 yards and Nick O’Sullivan added 40 more yards on eight packs. On the defensive side, good Del Oro outings were turned in by Huber, Cardenas, Smith, Alex Mason, Alex Bertrando and Tanner Woods. Del Oro, now 5-1 overall on the season and 1-0 in the SFL, plays at Nevada Union on Friday night at 7:15 p.m., in Grass Valley. For Golden Eagle fans not able to make the trip, the game will be broadcast, both over the airwaves and online, by KNCO radio, 830 AM.