Sports Chatter

Tough slate awaits Del Oro

By: Mike Ray, Loomis News Sports Editor
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Casey Taylor has done it again. Without a whole lot of fanfare or chest-pumping, the Golden Eagles’ football coach has laid out a schedule for 2012 that might make 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh cringe. Let’s start with Friday’s 7:30 p.m., Battle For the Veterans home season opener against Oaks Christian, of Westlake Village. The visiting Lions will enter the game as the state’s No. 4 ranked large school according to Cal-Hi Sports’ pre-season Top 50 poll. The visitors from Ventura County, who lost 49-42 to Westlake – yes the same Westlake that defeated Del Oro, 30-27 in OT last season – in the Southern Section CIF finals last year, don’t have Joe Montana’s son anymore, but they still have plenty of firepower. “They’re very explosive,” understated Taylor about the Lions who were 11-3 in 2011. “They have a very good quarterback, big-time receivers and a linebacker that’s already committed to UCLA.” Seven returning players are back on offense for Oaks Christian, including junior quarterback Brandon Dawkins (6-4, 215), who was Cal-Hi Sports’ State Sophomore of the Year after passing for 2,844 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2011. Dawkins has already been offered a scholarship by Notre Dame. He will be throwing once again to fellow junior Chris Davis, who latched on to 60 catches for 598 yards. The Lions have another talented wide out in senior Francis Owusu (6-3, 205), whose brother Chris is a standout at Stanford; while UCLA commit Cameron Judge (112 tackles) and senior nose guard Marcus Jones (12 sacks) lead. After Friday’s opener, the Golden Eagles venture to Westlake next Friday, then start a rugged stretch of tough Northern California foes in September when they play Luther Burbank, Grant and James Logan of Union City. And in case Golden Eagle followers have forgotten, Sierra Foothill League play begins Oct. 5. Grid Slate Changes Because Del Oro’s varsity football team is involved in the two Battle For the Veterans showcases the next two weeks, Del Oro’s freshman and JV teams will play altered schedules. The two Golden Eagle teams will open their season next Thursday, on Aug. 30, when they travel to Granite Bay for a doubleheader. The frosh will open things up at 5:15 p.m., followed by the JVs at 7:30 p.m. These are non-league games. The games between the same two teams at Granite Bay in October will be Sierra Foothill League games. Also, the week of Sept. 7and 8, when Del Oro’s varsity team has a bye, Del Oro will host Placer in a doubleheader on Thursday, Sept. 6 with the freshman kicking off at 5:15 p.m., followed by the JVs at 7:30 p.m. Ash Shows Well 2011 Del Oro High graduate Eric Ash, a sophomore at Sonoma State, closed out a strong summer of golfing by finishing in second place at the recent Northern California Golf Association’s State Amature Match Play championship. Ash lost 6 and 4 to Jake Yount, of Danville, in the finals. After shooting 71-75 to tie for seventh in the qualifying rounds, Ash won three straight matches – including a 19-hole match over Maverick McNeely, of Sharon Heights Country Club, in the round of 16. In the 36-hole championship match against Yount, Ash found himself five holes down early but actually won more holes on the second 18, but by then was running out of oppurtunities. “It’s was definitely too little, too late,” said the rising sophomore at Sonoma State. “I really dug myself a big hole at the start, so I knew it was going to be tough to comeback.”