It was a tough, long haul, but the Del Oro Golden Eagles are headed to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs.
The Golden Eagles, who many people had given up for done when the team dropped its first four games of the season, showed plenty of resolve and moxie in rallying to win five of its last six games including the playoff cinching 38-35 win over Rocklin last Friday night.
When Skylar Rand’s 33-yard field goal split the uprights as time expired, the Golden Eagles were provided with the winning points needed to extend their season.
“The kids and coaches stayed the course,” said Del Oro coach Casey Taylor. “They never gave up or quit.”
Now, the Golden Eagles’ second season starts Friday when they open the CIF Div. II playoffs at No. 2 seed Yuba City. Game time against the Honkers, who were the Tri-County Conference champions, is set for 7 p.m.
The last time the Golden Eagles entered the playoffs with four or more losses on their record was in 2010 when Del Oro was 6-4, but then swept through to win four straight games and bag the CIF Div. III crowd.
This time around, the 5-5 Golden Eagles will enter the Div. II playoffs as the No. 15 seed and be facing a talented Yuba City squad that’s lone loss was a 42-33 setback to undefeated Placer back on Sept. 21.
In Yuba City, the Golden Eagles will be facing a well-balanced Honkers team led on offense by quarterback Taylor Elkins and running backs Nate Van Dusen and Omar Herrera. Elkins, a left-handed senior, is 55x118 through the air for 1,101 yards and nine touchdowns. He is also a running threat as Elkins has scampered for 253 yards on the ground.
Yuba City’s top running threat is Van Dusen, who has logged 1,216 yards and 21 touchdowns; while Herrera has 67 carries for 717 more yards and seven scores. In total, Yuba City has seven different running backs, who have totaled more than 200 yards apiece rushing.
On defense, the Honkers are led by standout linebacker Anthony Fleenor. He leads a unit that has racked up 14 pass interceptions and 22 sacks this season.
Special CIF ticket prices will be in effect Friday with $10 adult prices, $7 students and seniors, and children five and under free.