It used to be that the readers always would write when they had a sports question. Now, the questions still arrive, but these days they come by email, voicemail, Facebook or Twitter.
Last week, Steve from Bowman checked in with the following: “With the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section postponing its complete semifinal round of football playoff games last week, do I ever recall a playoff football game ever being postponed before?”
The answer is yes. In the first round of the 1981 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, a storm swept through Northern California that brought over four inches of rain over a 24-hour period to the foothills along with high winds.
In the section’s Division II playoffs that year, River City of West Sacramento set off through the driving rain for Loomis on Friday afternoon to match up later that night with Del Oro in a first-round game.
However, with monsoon-like winds knocking down power lines that day in the Loomis area, a power outage at Del Oro forced the game to be postponed. River City returned home and then came back the next afternoon where the Eagles posted a 28-6 win to advance.
In a postscript to the story, the stage was almost set for a Del Oro-Placer championship game that 1981 season. However, while Placer used former Atlanta Braves shortstop Jeff Blauser’s 27-yard field goal as the difference in overtime of a 17-14 semifinal round win at Ponderosa, Del Oro couldn’t maintain a 21-0 third-quarter lead over Mira Loma and ended up falling to the Matadors, 24-21.
That ultimately set the stage for the Hillmen to take on Mira Loma the following week at American River College, where Placer claimed the fifth and final CIF section championship under the Bill Miller-Tom Johnson coaching reign with an easy 30-7 win.
Speaking of Miller and Johnson, former Placer standout David Odom, who was another mainstay on that 1981 Hillmen squad, pointed out that while the current Hillmen run of 24 wins over its last 26 games is indeed impressive, there was a stretch of Placer success under Miller and Johnson that may go unchallenged.
With Miller and Johnson at the helm of the Hillmen, from 1975 to 1977, Placer reeled off consecutive seasons of 11-0, 10-1 and 11-0 to go 32-1. However, Odom noted that it shouldn’t be forgotten that the 1978 team, although not qualifying for the playoffs that year, won its first eight games the following season before losing to Nevada Union, 31-28.
That make’s Placer’s four-year stretch on the gridiron from ’75 through ’78, a remarkable 40-2.
The second question last week came from John in Newcastle, who wondered if Max Rodarte, a junior receiver-defensive back currently playing at Capital Christian, is any relation to current Placer coach Eric Rodarte.
The answer is yes. Eric is Max Rodarte’s uncle. Max is the son of Brett Rodarte, a former Placer standout who played on Placer’s ’80 and ’81 section championship teams before going on to play at Sierra College and Portland State.
Word from proud grandpa Jim Rodarte, another longtime Placer assistant coach, is that Max has better wheels than his dad or uncle had.
Forgive Del Oro coach Jeff Walters if he keeps sneaking a peek at Friday night’s scoreboard and keeping tabs on Liberty of Brentwood. Before arriving to take the reins at Del Oro in 2017, Walters was Liberty’s head coach for four seasons from 2013 through 2016. The sophomores from Walters’ last year at Liberty are now seniors, and the Lions are 10-0 and one of four teams in the CIF North Coast Section open division along with De La Salle, Clayton Valley Charter and Pittsburg.
When Colfax and Sonora tee it up Friday night in Colfax, the Falcons and Wildcats will be seeking to gain the edge in the all-time series between the two teams. Sonora took the first confrontation in a D-III semifinal game in 2005 in Colfax, 32-14. The Falcons then squared the series at 1-1 with last year’s 56-55 win over the Wildcats in Sonora.
Bear River and Ripon will be meeting for the third time in four seasons with the Bruins winning 20-7 in 2015 and 14-7 last year. The Bruins also defeated the Indians, 14-13, back in a 1994 semifinal game.