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High-caliber grid teams walk fine line

Sports Chatter
By: Mike Ray, Loomis News Correspondent
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The line between winning and losing in high school football can sometimes be extremely fine. Never was it ever more evident than last Saturday night when Del Oro High School and Westlake Village squared off in the feature game at Battle at the Capital football showcase, hosted over three days by the Golden Eagles. With two very good football teams from different ends of the state going at each other for four quarters and then into an overtime session, fans and followers of both teams were on their feet before the visiting Warriors from Ventura County — long a perennial CIF Southern Section power — escaped with a thrilling 30-27 win. For Del Oro supporters, the much-ballyhooed game could go into the books as “what might have been” after game officials ruled that Golden Eagles quarterback Bobby Heatherington’s knee was down just a foot away from the end zone on a fourth down play in overtime. Such is the case when two high caliber programs meet, it is definitely a fine line between being the victor or vanquished. “We had our chances to win it,” said Del Oro coach Casey Taylor. “We lost a fumble for a touchback, but then we return an interception on their next possession for a touchdown. It sometimes evens out.” Taylor wasn’t blaming officials for not allowing quarterback Bobby Heatherington’s fourth down overtime plunge into the end zone stand as a touchdown. “We thought he was in but the officials made the call,” said Taylor. “If he scores we might not still win, but we’ll never know.” The high-caliber early season game between Del Oro and Westlake could become the norm for the Golden Eagles. Early reports have it that next season, Del Oro will play at Westlake and then host state power Oaks Christian, of Westlake Village. Westlake will then return to the area next season to play at Granite Bay before the Grizzlies travel to play at Oaks Christian. “The schedule isn’t finalized yet but that looks like what’s going to happen,” Taylor added. But first-things-first for the Golden Eagles. While Saturday’s loss may have been disappointing for the Golden Eagles, they won’t have much time to lick their wounds as Del Oro figures to be in another high-energy test this Friday when defending Central Section large school champion Clovis West visits. Clovis West proved to be rude hosts in a 47-7 shellacking of Del Oro last September in Fresno. Clovis will most likely come into this week’s game with a huge chip on their shoulder after losing their opener, 31-30, last Thursday night on the road at Merced. That Merced dropped its zero week opener on the road to Paradise, 13-6, two weeks ago, shows that the old axiom on “any given Friday night” — well you know the rest. “Clovis West is a state top 20 team,” said Taylor. “They had some turnovers last week that hurt them, but we’re expecting another very tough game.” Grid Picks - A 4-2 slate last week gives this corner a 9-3 mark among games involving SFL teams. This week shapes up like this: Del Oro 33 Clovis West 29 – Both “Golden Eagles” seek to rebound from respective OT losses. Woodcreek 45 Oakmont 20 – T-Wolvers have tallied 124 points in two games. Granite Bay 26 Clovis East 23 – “Inadvertent whistle” played role in GB’s win over St. Mary’s last week. Whitney 33 Rocklin 20 – ‘Cats take Rocklin braggin’ rights. Nevada Union 36 Monterey Trail 18 – Miners gaining steam. Folsom 37 Roseville 25 – Bulldogs have firepower.