Ready for some football?

Sports Chatter
By: Mike Ray, Loomis News Correspondent
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The last time we left the Del Oro football team, they were a happy, rain-soaked flock of Golden Eagles flying out of Hornet Stadium with the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III championship banner firmly in hand. The 21-0 championship final win over Oakdale that night didn’t belie the Golden Eagles’ dominance in last year’s post season. Completing a dominating playoff run, Del Oro outscored its four postseason foes by a 133-25 margin to leave little doubt of their supremacy. Now, on the eve of the 2011 season opener, many of those same faces from last year’s successful season return. Combine that with a solid group of newcomers, and you can see why Golden Eagle followers are eagerly anticipating the upcoming campaign. But while there is plenty of optimism for the Black and Gold, Del Oro Coach Casey Taylor, now starting his tenth season on the DO sidelines, has been here long enough to know that pre-season press clippings most often then not won’t take a team to lofty heights. “We had a good camp, but we have to still keep working hard,” said Taylor. “We’ve been able to stay healthy and that’s good. The kids’ chemistry seems to be coming together. We’re excited about the season.” Taylor wasn’t overjoyed, however, at Del Oro’s overall performance at last Saturday night’s scrimmage with Elk Grove. “We didn’t play as well as we should have,” said the DO coach. “Obviously we weren’t able to prepare for Elk Grove like we would have for a regular game and they threw some stuff at us we hadn’t seen. Elk Grove is improved though. It was good for us.” One thing for sure this season is that when the Golden Eagles button down their chin straps for Friday’s season opener, in Loomis, against Spanish Springs, they shouldn’t plan on loosening them up for the next 10 weeks. As previously documented, a meat grinder of a pre-season schedule that includes state level powers such as Westlake, Clovis West and Oak Ridge will lead into what is expected to be another battle royal for Sierra Foothill League honors. “We have a tough schedule again but we feel we’re well prepared for it,” said Taylor. “There’s really no room to take a week off.” Prep picks We’re dusting off the high school football crystal ball this week for our first grid predictions of the season. In an interesting side note for this week’s games, the SFL schools — Del Oro, Nevada Union and Granite Bay — all take on Northern Nevada 4A teams. Here’s how Zero Week shapes up. Del Oro 27, Spanish Springs 13 — Golden Eagles kick off with a win. NU 31, McQueen 17 — NU junior QB Kyle Cota can really wing it. Granite Bay, 30 Reed 21 — Grizzlies also have rugged preseason slate. Rocklin 22, Los Banos 20 — Thunder take close one. Segerstom 24, Roseville 21 — Long trip shouldn’t bother Santa Ana team. Woodcreek 32, Lincoln 20 — T-Wolves avenge last season’s upset.