Prep Playoff Roundup

CIF Playoff Seedings Take Big Hits

No. 11 Del Oro, No. 14 Whitney Will Meet Friday in Loomis
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
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After pre-season trips to Las Vegas and Fresno to take on perennial powers Bishop Gorman and Clovis West, last Friday’s trek to Manteca to meet East Union in the opening round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Div. III playoffs must have seemed like a walk in the park for the Del Oro football team. Well, at least the Golden Eagles made it look that way. “We played a very good game all the way around,” understated Del Oro coach Casey Taylor after the Golden Eagles dismantled East Union, 58-7. In a game that wasn’t even close, Del Oro led 21-0 before the first quarter ended and 37-0 by halftime. My hat goes off to Del Oro,” East Union coach Mike James said. “They’re a well-coached team, a well-oiled machine.” While Del Oro was taking care of business against the Lancers, across town, No. 1 Div. III seed Manteca had their season end in a stunning 55-22 loss to No. 16 seed Vanden. Vanden’s win marked the first time in the second year of the CIF’s new playoff format that a No. 1 seed had been knocked out in the first round. All total, there were 10 lower seeds in the section’s six playoff divisions that pulled off first round upsets. Del Oro will now host Whitney on Friday in Loomis in a quarter-final game. Just for the record, Whitney, a No. 14 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Pioneer of Woodland, 27-22 to get a shot at the Golden Eagles. Earlier this season, Whitney also defeated Vanden, 39-36. 'Box' Headed To Colfax At Colfax, Tony Martello spent last weekend savoring his Falcons’ 48-33 playoff win over Orestimba and then headed for the film vault to dust off some old footage of games past where opponents ran a double wing offense against his Falcons. “We used to see the double wing quite a bit when we played Golden Sierra and Lincoln way back,” said Martello. “But we just don’t see it as much these days.” Martello’s sudden interest in the double wing comes with the fact that Argonaut, the Falcons’ Div. IV B quarter-final playoff opponent this Friday, runs a version of what became known in this area as the “Cox Box” after Golden Sierra coach Terry Cox. “Argonaut uses a lot of different bells and whistles with their box,” said Martello. “They’re a good team.” Comparatively speaking, Argonaut lost a close 30-28 game to Pioneer Valley League foe Lincoln earlier this season, but also destroyed Marysville 34-0, a 13-12 playoff winner last Friday over Bear River. “They throw about four or five different backs at you and have good size,” said Martello about the 9-2 Mustangs who hail from Jackson. “We’ll have our hands full again.” VOL Takes A Hit When Oakdale visits Placer Friday in an attractive second round Div. III match up, the visiting Mustangs won’t be able to wear their “lucky” black uniforms they unveiled in last Friday’s 56-21 win over Christian Brothers. “We’ve had them but we’ve never wore them before,” said Oakdale coach Trent Merzon. “The kids were jazzed.” Remarkably, when Oakdale comes to Auburn on Friday, they are the last team from the proud Valley Oak League out of five which started the playoffs that is still alive. Along with Manteca and East Union, Sierra and Sonora were also eliminated in the first round. On Friday’s game with the Hillmen, Merzon is expecting nothing but a tough battle from the hosts: “From what I’ve seen on film they don’t have any weaknesses.” Indians Thwart Bruins Bear River didn’t want to mess with overtime in its first round game at Marysville and ended up paying dearly in a somewhat surprising 13-12 loss to the Indians. “Missing the PAT on the first score was pivotal,” said Bear River co-coach Scott Savoie said. “If we made the first one, we surely would have kicked the second one. It kind of forced our hand and we had to try and win it outright with the two-point conversion. “I thought we might have caught them off guard, too. But it didn't work.” On the two-point conversion attempt, Savoie went with a combination that had worked for much of the night. Quarterback James Harris had already hit junior wideout Harley Sauers on six passes in the game for 77 yards. But on the biggest play of the game with less than two minutes to play, Marysville thwarted the two-point conversion try by breaking through and sacking Harris. “We had already decided we were going for two,” said Bruins co-coach Terry Logue. There was no guarantee that we'd make the kick to tie,” Logue added. “We felt like we should go for two and we called a play that had worked five or six times. And then they stopped it for once.”