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Will Eagles soar back to form?

Junior quarterback Magleby hopes to help Del Oro return to its winning ways
By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS — Max Magleby is still earning the respect of his senior teammates, but he’s already eagerly anticipating his first opportunity to capture the admiration of his whole high school Saturday night. The first junior to start at quarterback in Del Oro head coach Casey Taylor’s eight-year tenure hopes to guide the Golden Eagles back to the top of the Sierra Foothill League after they finished 4-6 and missed the playoffs entirely last season. “There’s a lot more pressure on you because you’re the young one,” said Magleby, who assumes the role in which his graduated brother Mason threw for nearly 1,900 yards and ran for 600 more in 2008. “Not many people respect you yet and they don’t know what you’re capable of. It’s tough trying to get the seniors to trust you. People look at you and they want to know that you can do it. They keep asking you, ‘Are you going to be better this year than last year?’” It’s a question returning wide receiver Freddie Cargile is tired of hearing in the hallways, too. “A lot of people at school try to joke sometimes, ‘You guys were terrible last year,’” said the senior, who caught 32 passes for 365 yards. “We have a lot of competitors on this team. Last year wasn’t anything like we wanted. We have higher expectations of ourselves. We can’t wait to get out there and prove to everybody that we can still do it.” With seasoned talent returning around Magleby at the skill positions, Del Oro appears poised to contend for its sixth league title this decade. “Anytime you have a year like that, you have a little sense of urgency going into this year,” Taylor said. “We don’t want to repeat what we did last year, so in January we started working out with more purpose, just trying to give a little bit more. We’re very anxious to go out and get back on track.” Running back Bryce Pratt, a 1,000-yard rusher who finished with 19 touchdowns last year, leads a potent ground attack. Junior fullback Derrick Luque returns with a year of varsity experience, while juniors Shoichi Martinson and Kenny Andri also figure to see some carries. The Eagles return star receiver Spencer Butterfield, who caught 36 passes for 710 yards despite missing four weeks after injuring his knee in the season opener. Butterfield will line up with Cargile, sophomore wide receiver Daniel Thomas and junior tight end Adrian Williams. “We’re really comfortable with our four guys there,” Taylor said. Magleby, who started learning the varsity squad’s spread gun offense at Taylor’s request while piloting the Del Oro JV team to an 8-2 finish, won’t be expected to run as much as his older brother did last season. “Mason was a great player for us and we’re going to miss him, but we’re very happy with Max,” Taylor said. “He’s done a great job. He throws the ball really well and manages the game well. We feel we’ve got some good pieces around him. We feel with the skill guys coming back, he doesn’t have to do as much as Mason had to do. We’re hoping he can just manage the game, but he’s good enough to make some big plays for us.” Echoed Cargile: “He’s going to get it done. He’s got a lot of pressure on him, being Mason’s brother, but he has a lot of talent. He’s definitely athletic. Once he gets that confidence in us and he knows we’re right behind him, that’s all he’ll need.” Magleby has a stellar offensive line in front of him, anchored by returning starter Travis Doupnik. Fellow seniors Eddie Love, Nick Zieour and Jon Root are also ready to assume starting roles, and Taylor is particularly excited about junior Ryan Cope, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound wall. “He’s a bulldozer at strong tackle,” the coach said. “He’s really special.” Luque is a returning linebacker alongside defensive linemen Adrian Williams, a junior, and Josh Richmond, a senior. Junior Angelo Pasquale will start at safety. “He’s really fast and can do some things,” Taylor said of Pasquale. “We’re going to try to get him the ball on some returns. He has that ability to get in the open field and go.” The Eagles won scrimmages against Oak Ridge and Casa Roble last week. They open another challenging schedule Saturday against California High of San Ramon in Folsom at Battle at the Capital. They travel to North Coast Section power Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa the following week before playing five consecutive home games, including their SFL opener against Granite Bay on Oct. 16. “We’re just excited to get it going,” Taylor said. “None of us were real happy with last season, maybe a little embarrassed. We want to right the ship, there’s no doubt about that. It’s our 50th year at Del Oro. We really want to make a bang. Obviously we’re not looking that far ahead and focusing in on what we’re doing daily, but we feel we have a lot to prove. We had a great training camp, great summer, scrimmage week went well and hopefully it will pay off.”