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Golden Eagles improve to 4-0

By: Gold Country News Service
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Del Oro High frequents the end zone so often these days that even the largest of leads doesn’t feel like much. Bryce Pratt scored four more touchdowns, bringing his season total to 14 and leading the Golden Eagles past Merced 38-13 in varsity action last Friday night. “We were up 31-0 at half, but it didn’t really feel like it to us,” said head coach Casey Taylor. “We thought we were up by a couple touchdowns. It really didn’t feel that we had put that much on.” In its penultimate Sierra Foothill League tune-up, Del Oro (4-0) capitalized on prime field position in the first half. The Eagles defense forced Merced (0-4) to punt on its first five possessions and intercepted passes on the next two. The Eagles host Vintage of Napa Friday night at 7:30 in their final game before opening Sierra Foothill League against defending champion Granite Bay on Oct. 16. Junior Varsity Del Oro gave up its second and third touchdowns of the season in defeating Merced 34-15. The Eagles improved to 4-0 despite the absence of standouts Nick O’Sullivan and Tanner Huber. Russell Smith opened scoring with a 30-yard run in the first quarter. Austin Howerton returned a kickoff 75 yards for the second touchdown, and Smith scored his second TD of the game on a short run that put Del Oro ahead 21-7. The Eagles take on Vintage Friday at 5:15 p.m. in Loomis. Freshmen Del Oro allowed two late touchdowns and turned the ball over three times but endured Merced’s rally to win 29-21. The Eagles (3-1) led 29-7 early before star running back Tyler Wharton left with an arm injury. Zach LaBar ran the fourth touchdown into the end zone from 8 yards out. He also intercepted two passes to help preserve the lead. Del Oro hosts Vintage Thursday at 5:30 p.m.