A few years back - the 1970s to be exact -Albert Hammond told us through song that “It Never Rains In Southern California.” If you were part of the Del Oro contingent that followed the Golden Eagles football team to Carson for last Saturday’s CIF State Div. II Bowl championship game you found out that Mr. Hammond may have fibbed a little. While sprinkles in the fourth quarter may have put a damper on Del Oro’s 35-24 loss to a talented Helix of San Diego team in the championship game, by no means did it put a downer on the marvelous season that the Golden Eagle gridders took their fans and followers on in 2011. “We had a great season, what can I say,” said Del Oro coach Casey Taylor. “The team, the school, the parents, the fans...all just fabulous,” said Taylor. “It may not have ended the way we wanted it to, but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort.” A few seasons back Taylor and his Del Oro coaching staff made a commitment to put the Golden Eagles on a level with some of the elite programs in not just California, but the entire Western region. What followed has been out-of-state games with teams from Washington, Idaho and Nevada, not to mention top-flight, in-state competition. This season, Taylor and company ratcheted up the level of play even more with high-profile, preseason contests against Spanish Springs from Nevada, CIF Southern Section champion Westlake, and Clovis West, a perennial Central Section power. And, by all means, the 2011 Golden Eagles were up to the task. Rolling through the regular season with a 9-1 record – the only blemish being an overtime setback to Westlake – the Golden Eagles were primed to make a long, post-season run. For the most part, Taylor and staff showed that the Golden Eagles were peaking at the right time of the season as playoff romps over Sacramento High, Placer and Whitney set the stage for a hard-knocking 21-7 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title game decision over Oakdale. The section win vaulted the Golden Eagles into the state spotlight and the program’s dream came true when the team was selected two weeks ago as the North representative to the state Div. II bowl game. While last Saturday’s setback to the Highlanders was a tough pill to swallow - I’m still trying to find the defensive holding call on the third quarter pass interception - the entire state got a chance to see what Del Oro football is all about. The Golden Eagles’ program is about hard work, accountability, great senior leadership, team chemistry and a coaching staff that cares about their players as athletes, students and individuals. And if the 2011 Del Oro season didn’t rev you up, just wait until 2012. Taylor announced over the weekend that three Del Oro marquee match-ups for the 2012 season include an away game at Westlake, a home game against Oaks Christian of Westlake Village and a first-time regular season contest against Sac-Joaquin Div. I power Grant. Butterfield Shining Former Del Oro High basketball standout Spencer Butterfield is enjoying a banner hoops season at Yuba College. Butterfield, a 2009 Del Oro graduate, helped Yuba win last weekend’s Kris Kringle Tournament hosted by Santa Rosa Community College. In the championship game against Santa Rosa, Butterfield tallied 28 points in the finals to lead the 49ers to an 88-81 win. Butterfield was tagged as the tournament’s MVP, marking the third tournament this season that he has earned top honors in. Other local area talent playing for the 15-3 49ers this season are Rocklin graduates Cody Kale and Sean Harris.