Del Oro sets sights on SFL

By: Mike Ray & Sara Seyydin Gold Country News Service
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Believe it or not, for the Del Oro Golden Eagles football team, the easy part of its 2011 schedule is out of the way. Now, with a bye week off to rest and recuperate, the Golden Eagles set their sights on what is expected to be an all-out dog fight for Sierra Foothill League championship honors. For Del Oro, its SFL title defense will start on Friday, Oct. 7, when the Golden Eagles travel to Rocklin to take on the Thunder. The Golden Eagles should be applauded for navigating a mine-field like pre-season with a 4-1 record. Included among the vanquished were Spanish Springs, of Sparks, Nev., Clovis West, Oak Ridge and last Friday night, Oakmont by a telling 60-20 count. Only a 30-27 overtime loss to CIF Southern Section and state-ranked Westlake kept the Golden Eagles from preseason perfection. But Del Oro’s 4-1 preseason won’t add up to much as the week-in and week-out battles with SFL foes Rocklin, Nevada Union, Granite Bay, Roseville and Woodcreek will be furious. “Our league is very good this season,” said Del Oro coach Casey Taylor. “It’s a one-game thing every week. You have to come ready to play.” In last week’s win at Oakmont, the Golden Eagles were more than ready. With the host Vikings reeling from some injuries, Del Oro came out swinging and never let up. Del Oro senior wide receiver Nick O’Sullivan said Oakmont’s injuries didn’t keep the Golden Eagles from playing a relentless four quarters, apparently capitalizing on a rivalry. “Coach Taylor has some history with this team,” O’Sullivan said. “He got us fired up this week in practice. Our d-line and our o-line were the best I’ve seen.” The Golden Eagles were able to grab the momentum early on. Del Oro senior running back Brandon Monroe went for a 55-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, on a pass from senior quarterback Bobby Heatherington. Heatherington completed 8 of 9, for 165 yards and four touchdowns. Del Oro senior wide receiver Russell Smith shined in the second quarter. He cruised to two touchdowns for the Golden Eagles. “Russell Smith, he was the all-star tonight, definitely the player of the game,” O’Sullivan said. Meanwhile, Oakmont senior quarterback Ryan Shields made the right call when he landed the ball in the hands of senior wide receiver Michael Schmitt. Schmitt sliced through the Golden Eagles tough defensive line all the way from the Vikings 26-yard line for a touchdown. Smith retaliated with another touchdown before halftime. He had two carries on 49 yards and two-touchdowns. In the second half, Del Oro came out with the same fierce strategy. Golden Eagles seniors Alex Bertrando, Tanner Huber and Tyler Meteer each made touchdown contributions.