Woodcreek stuns Del Oro

Turnovers, penalties doom Golden Eagles in first loss
By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
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ROSEVILLE — It was supposed to be a tuneup for a collision of undefeated state hopefuls. Instead, Woodcreek High stunned Del Oro and all but dashed the Golden Eagles’ bowl hopes with a 16-9 Sierra Foothill League victory Friday night. The Timberwolves capitalized on three Del Oro fumbles and several key penalties against the visitors to win their third game. Woodcreek (3-5, 2-1 SFL) handed Del Campo its lone loss earlier this season before dealing Oakmont its second defeat last week. “Anytime you can beat a team with the history and the prestige of Del Oro, it’s about as big a thing as you can do in high school football,” Woodcreek head coach John Hildebrand said. “They’ve got a fantastic team and we’ve had some ups and downs but we believe in our kids and we knew we could do something like that.” In a clash between two of the top tailbacks in the foothills, Woodcreek’s James Nunley delivered the dagger with 4:21 remaining. His 8-yard scoring scamper up the middle put the Eagles on the verge of their first defeat. Nunley had 33 carries for 154 yards. Del Oro’s senior star Bryce Pratt ran 25 times for 127 yards, but fumbled the fall away twice after turning it over only once in his first seven games. The Eagles (7-1, 2-1 SFL) fumbled the ball to the Timberwolves three times, while the hosts returned the favor only once. “We were frustrated,” Del Oro head coach Casey Taylor said. “I give credit to Woodcreek. They came and played really hard tonight. Anytime we got momentum going we got some penalties, but we didn’t take care of the football offensively. It came down to takeaways. We had some penalties that really hurt us.” The Eagles racked up more than twice as many penalty yards as the Timberwolves, none more painful than the yellow flag on their final drive. On third-and-six from the Woodcreek 26, quarterback Max Magleby found tight end Spencer Butterfield in the end zone for what appeared to be a touchdown that would have given Del Oro kicker Ian Scott a chance to tie the score with 1:30 left. Butterfield was flagged for offensive pass interference, negating the score and putting the ball back at the 41-yard line, where Magleby’s last Hail Mary fell incomplete. “I thought it was B.S.,” Butterfield said. “We had been getting bad calls all night. We just had to get knocked with another one. They couldn’t let us just play ball.” Del Oro stalled the game’s opening drive with a holding penalty inside the red zone, and Scott missed a 39-yard field goal wide left. Woodcreek punted away on the ensuing possession and Del Oro took over on the Timberwolves’ 40-yard line. Pratt punched it in from seven yards out five plays later, but Scott’s extra point was blocked. Woodcreek punted again, but got the ball back at midfield after Magleby fumbled a snap. The Timberwolves drove 51 yards on nine plays, capped by quarterback Matt Mazzuca’s 2-yard keeper. Bobby Reeves kicked the extra point to put Woodcreek on top 7-6. With two minutes left in the half, Reeves booted a 44-yard field goal on fourth-and-12 that cleared the uprights by a few feet. The Eagles responded with their best drive of the night. On third-and-10, Magleby completed a 39-yard pass to Butterfield that gave Del Oro a first-and-goal at the Timberwolves’ 10. After an incomplete pass and a sack, Scott was successful on a 28-yard field goal with 8.9 seconds left to bring the Eagles back to within a point at the intermission. The teams exchanged a punt and a fumble in the third quarter. Del Oro opened the fourth quarter on its own 15 but a holding penalty and an incomplete pass resulted in a fourth-and-17 from the 8. Jon Root punted from his own end zone, setting up Woodcreek’s clinching drive. Magleby completed 14 of 26 passes for 168 yards. Butterfield had nine catches for 102 yards, while wide receiver Freddie Cargile caught four passes for 64. The Timberwolves host Roseville next week, while the Eagles visit undefeated Rocklin. “We’ve got a couple choices,” Taylor said. “If we win our next two games we’re league champs, so that’s going to be our focus. We play a really good Rocklin team and hopefully we can bounce back and give them all we want there. That’s kind of the goal now.” Junior varsity Russell Smith scored two touchdowns and Del Oro survived a flat second half to beat Woodcreek 27-14. The Eagles (8-0) led 21-0 after one quarter and 27-7 at halftime. Blake Covey caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bobby Heatherington and Nick O'Sullivan scored on a 48-yard run.