Del Oro to play for D-III crown next Saturday

Golden Eagles will face Oakdale after second-quarter surge buries Patterson
By: Todd Mordhorst, Auburn Journal Journal Sports Editor
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PATTERSON — The Del Oro High football team stumbled out of the gate Friday night in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinals. By the time Kenny Andri, Brandon Monroe and the Golden Eagles found their strides, the Tigers had no shot at catching them. Del Oro breezed past Patterson 28-9 to advance to next week’s section championship game. The 11th-seeded Golden Eagles will face No. 5 Oakdale for the Division III title next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium. The Mustangs beat Casa Roble 41-19 Friday night. Del Oro was sloppy early against second-seeded Patterson. The visitors committed three turnovers in the first six minutes. But the Tigers could not pounce, scoring just three points off of the miscues. “I’m really proud of our defense,” Del Oro coach Casey Taylor said. “They set the tone early and then our offense got going. Del Oro held onto the ball in the second quarter, just long enough to put the game out of reach. Andri ripped off a 57-yard touchdown run on Del Oro’s first offensive play of the second quarter. Patterson then mishandled a Del Oro punt and Daniel Thomas recovered to set up a quick eight-yard touchdown burst from Andri, making it 14-3. Linebacker Alex Bertrando added a 21-yard interception return for a TD two minutes later. Just before halftime, Andri intercepted a long Patterson pass to set up Monroe’s 79-yard touchdown run, making it 28-3. Monroe was thrust into the spotlight as junior Nick O’Sullivan was sidelined with a case of the flu. After a stellar junior varsity campaign, the sophomore has shined in the playoffs. His touchdown Friday was his third in three games. “We knew he was going to be good,” senior Shoichi Martinson said. “He was shaking me in practice. He’s got some great cuts. He’s going to be really good next year.” Del Oro ran nine offensive plays in the second quarter and scored three touchdowns. The second half was a defensive struggle. The Eagles had a 55-yard scoring pass from Bobby Heatherington to Monroe called back on a holding penalty and never got a rhythm going after that. But the Eagles’ defense never let the Tigers’ talent get loose. Quarterback Cody Weinzheimer hit on 20 of 40 passes with two interceptions. Patterson’s longest play from scrimmage went for 23 yards and that was early in the fourth quarter. The home team’s only touchdown came on a time-consuming 89-yard drive that ended with a Weinzheimer quarterback sneak with 9 minutes to play. Andri had a game-high 108 yards rushing on 16 carries while Monroe had 106 yards on 13 carries. Del Oro limited Patterson to just 67 rushing yards on 29 carries. Seniors Tanner Pahl and Brandon Acuna helped make up for the absence of O’Sulilvan in the Eagles’ secondary. “Our defense played great,” Bertrando said. “We shut down the pass, we shut down the run. In the second quarter, our offense picked it up and that’s what we needed.” Del Oro was struggling at 2-4 less than two month ago. The players and coaches re-focused after a Sierra Foothill League-opening loss to Rocklin. Seven straight wins later, the Golden Eagles are headed to the section title game. “We’re definitely happy with this win,” Taylor said. “We want to get a section championship. We’re happy to be playing next week.”