Eagles’ first goal within reach
As the buzz about another section title and a potential state bowl game grows louder by the day in Loomis, Casey Taylor has the tough task of keeping his talented squad on task. He knows one slip-up in the unforgiving Sierra Foothill League could bring the Golden Eagles’ long-term goals crashing down.
“It’s an honor to be respected and we’ve played some really tough teams,” said Taylor, whose Del Oro squad can clinch at least a tie for the Sierra Foothill League title tonight against Roseville. “We can’t control the rankings or the state bowl invites. We can control our effort and our focus on Friday nights. We know if we start focusing on those (rankings), we won’t be there for long.”
After a pair of white-knuckle SFL victories, Taylor suspects tonight could be more of the same when Del Oro High welcomes Roseville for homecoming.
The Tigers (2-1 SFL, 5-3 overall) are still in the SFL hunt, needing wins over Del Oro and Granite Bay to claim a piece of the crown. Roseville is coming off of a 54-30 loss at Nevada Union. The Tigers’ other two losses came against NorCal powers Pleasant Grove (63-14) and Folsom (61-49) respectively.
Del Oro held off Granite Bay for a 28-24 victory last week, sticking to its formula of balanced offense and solid defense. The Tigers’ own balanced offense could test the Golden Eagles.
Quarterback Zac Cuhna, the son of Roseville coach Larry Cunha, is 6-3, 235 pounds and can stretch defenses with his arm strength. Tailback Casey Lambert is averaging 170 yards per game on the ground and receiver Cody Lindner averages 106 yards per game.
“Lambert is one of the top running backs in the area,” Taylor said. “We have to contain him and not let him get big runs. They’ll get yards, but we need to eliminate their big plays for touchdowns, and hopefully get some turnovers.”
The Eagles have won their last two games despite losing the turnover battle. Taylor credits his team’s resolve to win, along with the leadership of a stellar senior class. Those seniors would love to play at Golden Eagles Stadium again next month. A win over the Tigers would secure at least one home playoff game in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
Placer (6-2) at Center (4-4)
The Hillmen are hungry after an agonizing loss to Colfax that left them in need of help to win the Pioneer Valley League title.
“Monday we were recovering, Tuesday was better and by Wednesday, we were back to normal,” Placer coach Joey Montoya said. “Anytime you lose a big game, it takes a bit to recover. They’re eager to get back on the field. They want to respond in the right way after last week.”
The Cougars are the surprise of the PVL after beating Bear River and Foothill to become eligible for the postseason. Center stunned the Bruins 35-28 on a kickoff return for a touchdown in the final minute before edging rival Foothill 34-33 last Friday.
“They’ve got some very good athletes,” Montoya said. “They’re doing a much better job with their offensive line and their kids believe.”
Sophomore quarterback Tyrel Anderson has sparked Center, which did not win a PVL game last season. Tailback Bellaire D’Juan is dangerous when he hits the open field.
Placer will be looking to sharpen its offense and tighten up on defense as the postseason looms on Nov. 11. Senior receiver David Daniel is nursing a shoulder injury and will be used sparingly, if at all in tonight’s game.
Lincoln (2-6) at Colfax (8-0)
The Falcons can clinch at least a share of the PVL title with a road win. It would be their second straight league title and eighth in the last decade.
The Colfax defense will face a tough wing-T attack led by Lincoln (1-2 PVL) star Isaac Allen, who averages 162 yards per game.
The Falcons’ rushing attack is even better, led by Hunter Perez. The senior is averaging 189 yards per game. He has 25 touchdowns on the season and is averaging 9.3 yards per run.
Foothill (3-5) at Bear River (6-2)
The Bruins (1-2 PVL) need a win to clinch a postseason berth, and build momentum heading into the regular-season finale against Colfax.
Bear River picked up a big win at Lincoln last week after dropping its first two PVL games. DeVaughn Lofton and Jimmy Bamburg ran for two touchdowns apiece and James Harris added one rushing TD and one passing TD in the Bruins’ win.
Foothill (0-3 PVL) is dangerous, with speedster Dillon Paris leading a rushing game that is averaging more than 300 yards per game. Burly Robert Dotson (233 pounds) is a nice complement to Paris and David Sanders.
The Mustangs have been hurt by turnovers all season, including 14 lost fumbles.
Woodland Christian (5-3) at Foresthill (7-1)
The Wildfires face a solid test at home before visiting Delta to close out the regular season. A victory tonight would clinch the school’s first Sacramento Metro League title.
Foresthill handled Woodland Christian 35-20 back on Sept. 23. The Cardinals are coming off a bye, following a 50-49 loss at Delta.
The Wildfires have not lost since their season opener against Marysville. Junior quarterback Tommy Sawyer is coming on strong and has a nice selection of talented receivers in Ian Sykes, Zach Moss, Tyler Giles and Matt O’Brien.
Dylan Connelly is rushing for 118 yards per game while linebackers Patrick Miles and Wes Archbold have been tremendous on defense.