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Pondering the playoff picture

PVL Pipeline
By: Dave Krizman Journal Sports Columnist
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Interesting how a budding dynasty can sneak up on you. Case in point would be the Placer High girls’ volleyball team. Taking the reins of the Placer program five years ago, Jennifer Wright shared a Pioneer Valley League title her first season, finished second in her second season, and has garnered the PVL title the last three years. The clearest sign of why this program will continue to flourish could be seen in the waning moments of the Hillgals loss to Vista Del Lago in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs. Having lost the first two games and down 22-16 in the third and final game, defeat was inevitable for Wright’s squad. With a timeout called, Wright leaped from her seat on the bench, and with a smile as wide as our American River Canyon, clapping as though they had won, she gathered her team around her. In her smile and in her body language, she was expressing her delight with this squad. There was no screaming; there was no retribution. Instead, she showed how much she had appreciated this team’s efforts over the course of the season. When a coach makes winning-and losing- fun, players respond. … Darren Centi’s first-quarter performance against Woodland High was a firm reminder to not miss any Placer playoff action. In that first quarter, Centi had two interceptions and two touchdowns, including a circus catch and sprint into the end zone. His incredible performance, which all but signaled the demise of Woodland in the opening quarter, brought back memories of another stunning performance by a Placer athlete. Many of you will remember James Taber’s remarkable basketball performance against Colfax High last season. In Placer’s overtime victory over the Falcons, Taber scored eight points in a span of 30 seconds, sealing a huge upset over favored Colfax. … The stars in the Heavens must be shining down brightly on our local teams. This writer cannot remember the last time all three schools, Colfax, Del Oro, and Placer hosted second-round playoff games. For the true prep sports junkie, choosing between Placer vs. Oakdale, Colfax vs. Argonaut, and Del Oro vs. Whitney will be a difficult decision. These three home games speak volumes for the quality of all three programs. … Speaking of home games, Casey Taylor and his staff must have never expected they would be hosting a second round game. No. 3 seeded Pioneer High was upset by 14th seeded Whitney last Friday. With this upset, the Golden Eagles earned a home game. Jason Stowers, the defensive line coach for Del Oro, must be relishing these playoffs. Many expect Del Oro to march to the finals, but, in addition, his former school, Colfax, where he was the defensive coordinator for years has the look of a team that could reach the finals in Division IV. … Attendance at both the Colfax and Placer games was down dramatically last Friday. Many fans at Le Febvre Stadium blamed the poor attendance on the matchup with Woodland, a team the Hillmen had trounced earlier in the season. But, a better explanation may be the cost of watching a CIF playoff game. The Sac-Joaquin Section charged $9 for a ticket. In this depressed economy, $9 to see a high school football game may be too much for some parents and fans.