Del Oro rallies to stun California

Pratt rushes for 248 yards, two touchdowns in opener
By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
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FOLSOM — Bryce Pratt wasn’t about to let a sore ankle spoil his season opener. Pratt and the Del Oro Golden Eagles made an emphatic 2009 debut Saturday in the Battle at the Capital nightcap, rallying for four second-half touchdowns to shock California High of San Ramon 28-21. Pratt carried 41 times for 248 yards and two touchdowns, including the deciding score, a 2-yard plunge with 3:12 remaining. “Bryce was something else tonight,” Del Oro head coach Casey Taylor said. “He took it over. He’s just a good player. He understands our schemes and knows his holes. Our line did a great job.” Del Oro’s defense kept it in the game during a flat first half, and the Eagles erased a 10-0 deficit with three consecutive touchdown drives. The stunned Grizzlies (0-2) regrouped and responded with their first touchdown since late in the first quarter, driving 80 yards on five plays and cutting the Eagles’ lead to 21-18 on a two-point conversion with 8:12 left in the game. Del Oro quarterback Max Magleby threw an interception on the second play of the ensuing drive. The Eagles defense forced an incomplete pass on third-and-8 from the 23, and California kicker Alex Kale’s 41-yard field goal cleared the posts with only a few feet to spare, tying the score. Pratt carried on all five plays of the winning drive despite a nagging ankle that forced him to sit for two minutes early in the fourth quarter. “It just won’t get better,” said Pratt, who sustained the injury during a scrimmage on Aug. 28. “Tonight was all my linemen. They’re just amazing. I have so much respect for them.” For good measure, the 6-foot, 195-pound senior added kickoff returns of 54 yards in the second quarter and 45 yards in the fourth. He finished the first half with only 75 yards on 19 carries. Pratt’s sluggish start epitomized Del Oro’s early offensive woes. “Our defense definitely kept us in the game that whole first half,” said senior wide receiver Freddie Cargile, whose lone reception, a 35-yard out route, set up the Eagles’ second score. “Cal High’s a great football team and the defense stepped up. Offensively, we had a slow start but we got it going later in the game.” Pratt scored the first touchdown on an 8-yard run only three minutes into the second half. Junior quarterback Max Magleby then hooked up with senior wide receiver Spencer Butterfield for scoring strikes of 13 and 11 yards. “Max Magleby played above his years tonight,” Taylor said. Magleby completed 9-of-14 passes for 131 yards in his varsity debut. “I had butterflies all week long, but once we got those momentum drives, those touchdowns, the butterflies went away and adrenaline kicked in,” he said. “We had a long speech at halftime saying we don’t want this to be like last year. Down 10-0 at halftime, people think, ‘Oh no, here it goes again.’ They started leaving. We had to show them what Del Oro is really about, and we came back and won.” The Eagles travel to Santa Rosa next Saturday to face Cardinal Newman, which dropped its opener to Central Catholic of Modesto 36-12 in Battle at the Capital action.