Great expectations for Eagles

Led by stout linemen, veteran QB, Del Oro looks to make another run at section title
By: Joshua Ansley Journal Sports Writer
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There won’t be an opportunity to cut any corners this year as the Del Oro High football team prepares to contend for the Sierra Foothill League championship once again. After going 11-3 overall, and losing the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title to Rocklin last year by a touchdown, the Golden Eagles are returning with vengeance. Del Oro will have a group of upcoming juniors that went 20-0 over the last two seasons. Besides the newcomers, the Golden Eagles will have at least seven players returning who made significant contributions on both sides of the ball last year as they prepare to hit the ground running. The Golden Eagles play last year’s Division I Nevada state champion, Bishop Gorman on Saturday, in Las Vegas. Although Bishop Gorman has eight players heading to Div. I college programs next year, coach Casey Taylor trusts Del Oro is ready to give the Gaels all they can handle. “They are the biggest team we’ll ever play,” Taylor said. “But we’re not going go down there and be intimidated by them. We really feel we have a good game plan and we’ll be right there in the fourth quarter.” In addition to a solid incoming class of juniors, Del Oro will have senior Max Magleby returning at quarterback. He threw for over 2,000 yards last season, completing 65 percent of his passes. Magleby recited Taylor’s stance on Bishop Gorman’s size advantage, but feels the Golden Eagles have the speed to get around their bigger foes. As for the rest of the season Magleby said he is ready to go. “Everything so far is good,” Magleby said. “Me and the receivers are all in sync. Right now I’m just working on my footwork and trying to stay positive when things go wrong.” Joining Magleby in the backfield will be Angelo Pasquale and Kenny Andri. Both have excellent speed. They ran track and field on a 4x100-meter relay team that took third in the Sac-Joaquin Section last year. They will share the load running the ball and returning it. Pasquale and Andri will also be playing cornerback on the defensive side where each snatched one interception last season. Junior Daniel Thomas, who played well as a sophomore on varsity last year, will start at wide receiver along with junior Blake Covey. Scott Westlake will also play receiver along with Alex Bertrando, who will also see some action at tight end. The receivers will have large shoes to fill, replacing Spencer Butterfield, who gained over 900 receiving yards in 2009. Del Oro’s number one priority on the offensive line is to give Magleby enough protection to connect with his young receivers. Offensive line coach Doug Warner said the line is bigger and quicker this year, but doesn’t have the same experience. “It’s a work in progress,” Warner said. “We’re really hoping our quickness will pay off. The biggest thing is ball protection.” Starting at left tackle will be 265-pound junior Zach Heath. He will be joined by 290-pound senior Adrian Garibaldo and 210-pound junior Logan Lamb. The toughest obstacles for opposing defenses this year will be 220-pound Dustin Mollard at center, and 315-pound senior Ryan Cope at strong tackle. Cope currently has a verbal agreement to play football for Sacramento State next year. He said that as long as Del Oro limits its mistakes, the team should be in good shape. “We just have to focus on the little things,” Cope said. “Other than that it’s coming together really well.” On the defensive side 225-pound senior Shoichi Martinson will be at linebacker along with seniors Cameron Saldano and Chris Winger. The lone junior will be Tanner Huber, who along with Martinson will also see some time at tight end. The defensive line will be headed by Dustin Mollard, 6-3, 215-pound Ken Anderson, Rock Slatter, and Tyler Adair. Adair had two and a half sacks last year as a junior. Defensive backs will include juniors Nick O’Sullivan and Russell Smith along with senior Kai Von Volnalvensleben. Sophomore Skyler Rand will do the kicking for Del Oro. Expectations are high for this Golden Eagles’ squad. The team is confident it has what it takes to return to the Sac-Joaquin Section title game and overcome the bitterness that still resides from last year’s loss. “We definitely want to get as far or further than we did last year,” Magleby said. “We just have to continue to improve from week to week.”