Falcons Threw Kitchen Sink At Hillmen

Hillmen Defense Too Much For Colfax
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
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With his team still viable in the hunt for a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth, Colfax High football coach Tony Martello says his Falcons weren’t in the business Friday night for moral victories. Martello, the dean of Pioneer Valley League coaches now in his 17th season, had his Falcons throw the kitchen sink at Placer’s undefeated Hillmen who came into Marson Stadium as the No. 1 ranked Div. II team in the North for CIF state bowl purposes. But sometimes emotions and gadget plays can take you only so far as Placer’s 24-7 victory sets the Hillmen (9-0, 4-0) up next Friday at home for a winner take all game against Center (8-1, 4-0) for the PVL title. “Placer has just an outstanding team,” said Martello. “Size, speed, experience. We tried to hang with them but we made enough mistakes tonight to keep us from sneaking up on them.” Despite a gutsy effort by his plucky Falcons, Martello’s squad will have to wait until next Friday for a final shot at nailing down a post-season berth. Colfax, now 4-5, needs to win at Lincoln on Friday for a chance at an at-large berth for the playoffs. Getting back to Friday’s game, knowing that his Falcons would have a hard time trying to run against Placer’s talented defensive front four, Martello had quarterback Michael Wilson fill the air with passes as the Colfax quarterback was 16 of 39 in the air for 253 yards but suffered five interceptions. “In Michael’s defense he was under a heavy rush all night and two of the passes were tipped,” said the Colfax coach. “But we didn’t have much of a running game to take the pressure off him either. Placer’s defense is very good though and had a lot to do with it.” Colfax got off on a good note as Wilson opened the game with completions of 26 yards to Kyle Bryant and 16 to Chris Harshman but two plays later after the back-to-back first downs, Isaiah Pineiro’s pick six interception return of 73 yards gave the Hillmen a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Colfax’s defense, led by Cory Wilhelm, Jack Baldoni, Jake Mederios and Mario Margherita, made things tough on the Hillmen though. Placer had 23 rushing plays on the night that gained two yards or less. The Hillmen were also slowed by several 15-yard penalties that several times allowed the Falcons to keep drives alive. There was a lot of laundry out there, on both sides,” said Martello. “We had a few too many holding calls trying to keep their defense away from our quarterback.” Placer’s relentless defense, keyed by Eddie Vanderdoes, Stone Sander, Tony Suverkropp and Jake Lewis, and the big foot of Dominic Granieria, time and time again forced the Falcons to start drives in the shadows of their own goal posts. The Falcons finally broke through to trim the deficit to 17-7 when Wilson hooked up on a throw back pass to Tanner Kane from 40 yards away with 5:31 left in the third quarter. But on Placer’s next possession, a key Peter Denham to Pineiro pass completion for 11 yards and a first down on a third and nine situation, kept a Hillmen drive alive that culminated with Isaac Brahce’s ensuing 39-yard touchdown run that made the count 24-7. "When we trailed by 10 in the third quarter I thought we were hanging with them," said Martello. "But they came back and answered like good teams do. You can just tip your hat to them."