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Eagles defend their Nest

Del Oro grinds its way to a win over Nevada Union
By: Joshua Ansley Journal Sports Staff
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LOOMIS - A lot of statements have been made concerning the Del Oro High football team this season. Tonight the team offered a statement of its own by refusing to give up after starting the second half down 10 to 0 and facing another likely defeat. The Golden Eagles (3-4 overall, 1-1 league) fought hard for every inch as they grinded their way to a 14-10 victory Friday night against the Nevada Union Miners (4-3 overall, 0-2 league). Del Oro gave it to junior Nick O’Sullivan early and often, starting with seven touches on the team’s opening drive. His biggest play came off a Max Magleby pass for 34 yards, but Del Oro failed to complete the drive, and Nevada Union took over on its own 33-yard line. Three plays later senior running back Devyn Grimes ran the ball 56 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles found themselves down early once again after failing to contain the big play. The offense, however, displayed a unique ability to convert on third downs in the first half. Magleby completed five of his seven completed passes on third down situations and the chains continued to move, but Del Oro still failed to find the end zone. Magleby showed a bounce in his step early, ultimately completing 7 of 11 passes for 113 yards in one half of play. Unfortunately he also threw two interceptions and Del Oro remained scoreless after one half of play. Linebacker Shoichi Martinson said he was kind of worried after the first half, but the coach gave the defense some time to talk just among their selves during halftime, and it worked. “Everybody really came together at halftime,” Martinson said. “Just the players met up and we talked about what we needed to do.” Nevada Union’s offense started with the ball in the second half, but quarterback Josiah Paye was sacked by Kai Vonalvensleben for a huge loss on third down and the Eagles took over with quarterback Bobby Heatherington calling the shots. Del Oro continued to hand the ball to O’Sullivan, whose ability to make a push for a few extra yards on nearly every down kept the offense in the game. Still, it was Heatherington’s 39-yard pass to Daniel Thomas that fueled the drive and set up a 1-yard touchdown run by O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan ended up carrying the ball 38 times on his way to 130 yards and two touchdowns. After the game in which O'Sullivan also played every snap on defense, he said he had so much adrenaline pumping he could still keep going. He continued to offer praise to the Del Oro coaching staff for the time and energy they put into practice throughout the week in preparation for the game. “I'd like to give a shout out to (secondary coach) coach (Jared) Elarmo, a good guy and a good friend and (defensive coordinator) coach (Steve) Birch,” he said. “Birch always makes the extra effort to get us ready for every game and his hard work showed in this game.” Besides three big passes from Paye to Nevada Union wide receiver Brock Kraus, the Eagles were able to contain the passing game as well a formidable rushing attack, which came into the game averaging 284 rushing yards per game. The Del Oro defense held Nevada Union’s main rusher, Grimes, to 75 yards, and only allowed 184 total yards on the ground. Seniors Kai Vonalvensleben and Cameron Soldano combined for 12 tackles on the night, but the pair was outshined by Martinson, who along with eight tackles, intercepted Paye’s pass on the goal line and returned it nine yards. With less than two minutes to go, the interception virtually sealed the game for Del Oro. It was Martinson’s first interception of the season and it couldn’t have come at a bigger time. It was the only real individual play of the entire game for Del Oro, which put together an all-out team effort along with a never give up attitude. The win offered a real sense of relief for players, coaches, and fans after a trying non-league schedule and a bitter loss to Rocklin last week. “We all needed it,” Taylor told the team after the game. “And we’re still around. It’s the little things that won it for us tonight and it’s the little things that we’re going to have to continue to get better at.”