Extreme makeover: Del Oro edition

Magleby's position change helps Golden Eagles turn around season
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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If there’s a poster child for Del Oro High’s transformation on the football field this fall, it’s Max Magleby. Just six weeks ago, optimism was in short supply on the Del Oro High football practice field. The Golden Eagles were 2-4, coming off a tough loss to rival Rocklin and facing a Sierra Foothill League gauntlet that included Nevada Union, Granite Bay and Roseville. Some players even walked away from the team. Well, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and once again, Del Oro is still standing. An invigorated defense and a smash mouth rushing game have the black and gold one win from a second straight trip to a section championship game. “After we lost to Clovis West we thought this was going to be a long season,” Magleby admitted. “We never even thought about a league title. But things turned around and we look back and it’s refreshing to see.” Magleby went from high-profile quarterback to a ball hawk as a free safety. Magleby has sparked a defense that is reaching new peaks each week. “I’ll play anywhere I can,” Magleby said. “It was tough at first because I’ve been playing quarterback ever since I started playing football. But I’ve also played defense since I started. I know how the defense works and as a quarterback I could read the safeties. Now as a safety I can relate back to that and get in the QB’s head a little bit.” The senior pointed to senior defensive lineman Ken Andersen, who encouraged his teammates throughout the early struggles. “He just kept saying, ‘We can do this,’” Magleby said of Andersen. “He really stepped up and became a leader, along with Shoichi Martinson and Tyler Adair.” The Del Oro defense will face a fast, physical Patterson team tonight on the road. Like the Eagles, the Tigers rely on a straightforward running game. Jimmy Guerrero leads Patterson, along with quarterback Cody Weinzheimer. “They’re big up front and they’ve got a lot of speed,” Magleby said. “They’ve got a couple of receivers that will give us a fight. Physically, it’s going to be a tough game.” The Tigers (11-1) cruised through the Western League with a perfect 5-0 record to earn the No. 2 seed in Division III. Del Oro landed the No. 11 seed despite winning a share of the SFL title with a 4-1 record. Del Oro lost by a touchdown to Rocklin for the Div. II section crown last season. When the divisions were made up following the end of the regular season earlier this month, the Eagles wound up in Division III, where they are the biggest school in the postseason. After holding their own in the SFL, the Eagles continued to streak through the playoffs. They won their sixth consecutive game with a 26-9 win over Whitney last Friday after thrashing East Union in their playoff opener in Manteca. Senior Kenny Andri went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark last week. Junior Nick O’Sullivan could reach 1,000 yards with 61 yards tonight.