Another hurdle for Hillmen
There is an old adage in sports that states, “Defense wins championships.” And for years it was defense that won football championships. Today, however, this adage has been turned into a worn-out cliché. Today, it is offense that wins championships.
Last year’s Sac Joaquin Section football champions proved that offense wins championships. Following are the four game playoff averages for each division winner. Division I winner, Nevada Union, averaged 38.5 points per game. Division II winner, Rocklin averaged 28. Del Campo, the Division III winner averaged 33. Division IV winner Modesto Christian averaged 53.5. In the championship game, Placer scored 40 points… and lost.
Placer enters tonight’s game averaging a scary-good 45 points per game. Last week, Placer dropped 62 points on a Lincoln team that had entered the game with a 5-1 record. The week before, Placer scored ‘only’ 34 points on a 4-1 Bear River team.
The offensive firepower the Hillmen put on the field is superb. Collin Burnett, Josh Turney, Mike Robinson, Darren Centi, Brad Spangler, and Koal Swisley are the heart-and-soul of this high-octane offense.
Don’t be misled by Colfax’s 5-2 record. The two teams, Union Mine and Wheatland, which beat Colfax, are a combined 12-1. This year’s Falcon squad is vastly improved over last year’s team.
Anyone and everyone who followed the Falcons last year knew that Pat Rawlins was going to carry the ball. This year coach Tony Martello has a much more diversified offense. Quarterback Austin Young has receivers Josh Moreno and Chase Mosier. Tommy Baldoni has turned into a premier running back. The Falcons are averaging 24.5 point per game.
“Offensively, (Tony) Martello does a phenomenal job of getting their playmakers the ball in different ways,” Placer coach Joey Montoya said. “They’re a well-coached team with great talent.”
This team has also overcome both off-the-field issues and injuries that would have crushed most programs. In its last two games, Colfax scored 35 points in each contest. Clearly, Colfax is a team that has improved every week.
Placer has a an x-factor in Darren Centi, who is a threat every time he touches the ball on kick returns and as a speedy receiver, which Lincoln learned last week. Centi caught one touchdown pass and returned a kickoff 87 yards for another score.
“It gives us a whole new weapon on offense,” Montoya said of Centi. “It opens up a whole new page for us.”
Del Oro (3-4) at Granite Bay (5-2)
The Golden Eagles can grab some serious momentum with a road win tonight, but it won’t be easy against the Grizzlies, who edged Woodcreek on a field goal in the closing seconds last Friday.
The Granite Bay offense is balanced, with junior quarterback Brendan Keeney putting up impressive numbers (20 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 200 yards per game). Meanwhile senior Danny Thomas (5-10, 200 pounds) leads a rushing attack that averages 188 yards per contest.
Del Oro’s defense may be ready for the challenge after slowing down Nevada Union last Friday in a 14-10 victory. The Miners manage 166 yards on the ground — 100 yards below their season average.
The Eagles’ offense has been slowed by injuries, but junior Nick O’Sullivan has come on strong at running back with nearly 300 yards rushing in the last two games.
Del Oro continues to use both Max Magleby and Bobby Heatherington at quarterback while receivers Danny Thomas and Alex Bertrando have been outstanding.
Lincoln (5-2) at Bear River (5-2)
The Bruins face the Zebras, who are stinging from a 62-20 loss at home to Placer last Friday.
Bear River was not sharp, but had more than enough firepower to get past Center 35-21 to remain in the hunt for a Pioneer Valley League title.
Both teams feature big, powerful tailbacks. Senior Sam Houston and junior Josh Toft power the Bruins’ offense, as they combine for more than 200 yards per game on the ground. Lincoln’s combination of Oscar Fernandez and Isaac Allen are also tough to slow down, averaging 216 yards per game.
Valley Christian (3-5) at Foresthill (4-3)
The Wildfires can sweeten their homecoming celebration with a win in a rematch of their defensive thriller back on Sept. 18. Foresthill edged Valley 6-3 in the first meeting and could improve to 5-1 in the Sacramento Metro Athletic League with a win.
The Wildfires are coming off of a bye week and could all but clinch a playoff spot with the victory. The Lions are desperate for a victory after falling to Cristo Rey last Friday at home.