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Sports Chatter

Week of Sept. 1, 2011
By: Mike Ray, Loomis News Correspondent
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If there was any doubt about the strength of the Sierra Foothill League’s football squads this season, results that rolled in from all six SFL schools’ opening games last weekend confirmed what was already pretty much known – the SFL looks like it again will be tougher than nails this season. In a rousing start to the 2011 campaign, all six SFL schools more than acquitted themselves last weekend with impressive victories. In Loomis, Del Oro’s Golden Eagles followed the 1-2 punch of Nick O’Sullivan and Brandon Monroe to help dismantle visiting Spanish Springs of Sparks, Nev., 55-14. The game was pretty much decided by halftime as the Golden Eagles erupted for 34 second-quarter points on their way to building a 48-14 halftime cushion over the Nevadans. Meanwhile, a pair of SFL teams, Nevada Union and Granite Bay, crossed the state line to play in Reno, and Sparks respectively, and came home with a pair of victories. In Reno, Nevada Union, trying to bounce back from a non-normal 4-6 season, came up with a slew of big plays and upended defending Northern Nevada 4A champion McQueen, 27-6. Junior quarterback Kyle Cota, making his first varsity start, was 12 of 15 though the air for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Jake Hofheinz caught eight of Cota’s passes for 111 yards. Granite Bay found itself in a shootout with Reed, of Sparks, and behind the strong right arm of Brendan Kenney returned home over Donner Summit with a wild 43-37 win. Keeney, a three-year starter, completed 19 of 26 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns, including a 48-yarder to Tony Ellison with 5:45 remaining that gave the Grizzlies the lead for good. Rocklin was also a winner on Friday as junior signal-caller Daniel Kniffin threw three touchdown passes to spark a 27-19 win over visiting Los Banos. Matt Laughrea was on the receiving end of five catches for 104 yards and two scores for the Thunder. Saturday night things really got hot as both Woodcreek and Roseville posted big wins. At Lincoln, Woodcreek spotted the host Zebras the game’s opening score, and then stepped off 54 unanswered points in a 54-6 shelling of the hosts. Sophomore running back Mitchell Layton showed his the real deal by carrying the ball 18 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns. In Roseville, the Tigers forced three turnovers and ended up easily handling Segerstrom, of Santa Ana, 56-21. The only thing the Tigers lost in the game was head coach Larry Cuhna, who was ejected in the fourth quarter after sideline warnings turned into unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. This week, four of the SFL schools will match-up against opposition in games that will take on almost a playoff-type look. On Friday, Rocklin travels to Oak Ridge; Casa Roble visits Woodcreek; Granite Bay hosts St. Mary’s, of Stockton; Nevada Union travels to Ponderosa; and Roseville entertains Rio Linda. Saturday night it will be Del Oro capping off the Battle at the Capital by hosting perennial CIF Southern Section power Westlake, from Westlake Village in Ventura County. Grid Picks Last week’s opening selections were 5-1 with SFL teams, missing just on Roseville’s win over Segerstrom. This week: Del Oro 27 Westlake 26 – Golden Eagles nip young Warriors squad. Nevada Union 30 Ponderosa 6 – Miners won’t go 0-5 in SFL this season. Oak Ridge 33 Rocklin 20 – Trojans have Div. I wide out in Dylan Collie. Woodcreek 47 Casa Roble 42 – This game could take all night to play. Roseville 26 Rio Linda 14 – Tigers go 2-0. St. Mary’s 35 Granite Bay 30 – Rams from Stockton hold on.