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Del Oro braces for tough SFL stretch run

By: Mike Ray
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With three games remaining in the regular season, the finish line is in sight for Sierra Foothill League football teams.

And, with that in mind, the Del Oro Golden Eagles find themselves Friday beginning a critical trio of regular season-closing contests that will have a huge say on just where the Black and Gold land in relation to the team’s postseason aspirations.

But for Del Oro coach Jeff Walters, he’s putting the closing of the regular season in perspective.

“We’re not looking past our next play,” said Walters. “Right now it’s all about staying focused and Grant on Friday.”   

For Del Oro, fresh off a 56-21 thrashing of Oak Ridge last Friday in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score may indicate, the Golden Eagles are taking the old “one game at a time” stance and rightfully so.

This Friday, Del Oro ventures to Grant to take on a rejuvenated Pacers squad that is 4-3 overall but improved to 2-1 in the SFL last Friday with a 41-36 win over Rocklin.

Following Friday’s action with the Pacers, an away tilt at Rocklin follows for the Eagles Oct. 19, before four-time defending SFL champion brings its highly touted juggernaut to Loomis Oct. 26 for what is expected to be a high-profile league curtain closer.

But first thing’s first.

This week, Del Oro is taking on a Grant squad that is in a fight for its playoff life. Next week the same holds true for Rocklin, where the Thunder may have to defeat the Black and Gold to reach the postseason.

Owners of a 7-0 overall record and a 3-0 SFL record, the Eagles have lined themselves up for a enviable seed in the upcoming CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs regardless of whether Del Oro lands in Division I (if the Eagles win the SFL) or D-II (if Del Oro doesn’t win the SFL).

Currently, in the Calpreps.com-generated team rankings the CIF uses to help determine the section’s playoff seedings, Del Oro, with a lofty 57.8 rating, stands as the No. 1 team among section D-II teams.

If the Golden Eagles were being ranked this season in D-I, Del Oro would only trail Folsom’s section-leading 69.3 rating.

More importantly for Del Oro, regardless of the outcome of the Folsom game, wins over Grant and Rocklin would undoubtedly secure the Golden Eagles a first-round playoff bye and go a long way in securing home-field advantage through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.