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Del Oro's ‘Big Uglies’ helping pave way for RB Monroe’s bigger outings

No. 15 Golden Eagles set to take on No. 3 Elk Grove Thundering Herd
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Live updates from the game
 
Online: To get live updates from the game, look for Sports Editor Matthew Kimel’s tweets throughout the contest at auburnjournal.com/sports or twitter.com/matthewkimel.
Radio: You can also tune in to KAHI (950 AM) for play-by-play action.

 

Brandon Monroe has rushed for 1,019 yards and 13 touchdowns … in his last five games.
No, that’s not a typo.
The senior Del Oro running back has been shredding the opposition nearly every Friday since returning from a three-week hiatus because of a knee injury. 
Last week the San Jose State verbal commit went off for 297 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries in the Golden Eagles’ 21-10 victory in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II quarterfinals at St. Mary’s.
Like all wise backs, Monroe credited his offensive line for his success on the stat sheet. 
“They’re picking up their blocks now,” the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Monroe said of the unit he jokingly referred to as “The Big Uglies” earlier this week. “They’re looking up and seeing where they have to go and opening up the holes.”
Del Oro coach Casey Taylor, whose team achieved one of its goals of practicing on Thanksgiving for the ninth time in his 11 years at the helm, made some adjustments to his starting offense line halfway through the season. The dividends are paying off for his Golden Eagles, who are seeking their third straight section title. 
“They’ve really stepped it up,” Taylor said of the line, which features Tanner Woods, Zack Jensen, Emileo Campos, Brandon Johnson and Curtis Schmidt. 
Monroe acknowledged that his vision and cuts are also getting better, but that he needs to work on ball security. He lost two fumbles last week. 
Nonetheless, his team advanced to the section semifinals for the fourth straight season. The No. 15 Golden Eagles will make the trek down to Elk Grove Friday to take on the No. 3 Thundering Herd (11-1) in a 7 p.m. showdown. 
The game figures to be an old-fashioned, smash-mouth football game. Taylor believes the outcome of the game will likely be determined by who can take care of the ball better. 
Like Del Oro, Elk Grove features a run-first offense behind backs Robert Frazier (1,969 rushing yards, 21 TDs) and Wadus Parker (1,184 yards, 20 TDs).
“They do a good job of mixing it up and getting it to both of them,” Taylor said. “… They’re two of the best we’ve seen. To have them on the same team is tough. We know we’re not going to shut them down. We have to hopefully get them to where they try to do too much. They put the ball on the ground a bit. 
“… We’ve got to try to eliminate the big runs. They have a knack for hitting the home run.”
Monroe, who also plays in the defensive backfield, was impressed with Frazier and Parker when he saw on them on tape.
“They look really good,” he said. “They’re really elusive, very good backs. When I saw them on film, I was like ‘Wow, these guys are good.’” 
Monroe and the rest of the Del Oro seniors are hoping Friday isn’t the last time they suit up sporting their school’s colors of black and gold.
“Our seniors have been really scared about that,” Monroe said. “Right before the game we tell each other, ‘This can’t be our last game.’”
Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel