Hillmen hope to recover in a hurry

Colfax visits LeFebvre while Rocklin, Del Oro meet in SFL title tilt
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Placer High’s dream of an undefeated season ended with last week’s gut-wrenching 13-6 loss to Lincoln. But the Hillmen remain focused on goals still within their grasp, including a Sac-Joaquin Section championship. Placer will look to get back on track tonight against rival Colfax, which has playoff ambitions of its own. The Falcons are quietly 6-2 (3-1 Pioneer Valley League) and could clinch one of the PVL’s three automatic playoff berths with a victory in Auburn. It would be a sweet reward after Colfax’s 2008 season ended in the middle of a bus ride to Oakdale. A court-ordered injunction put a hold on Colfax’s scheduled playoff game at Oakdale pending a decision on the appeal of three Placer forfeits. The judge wound up ruling in Placer’s favor and the Hillmen made the trip to Oakdale, where they stunned the Mustangs and went on to the section championship game. The Falcons have recovered nicely, thanks in large part to senior Pat Rawlins and a small, but scrappy defense. Rawlins is the second-leading rusher in the Pioneer Valley League. The Colfax defense has looked good during the Falcons’ three-game winning streak. Placer was limited to just one touchdown last week in the loss to Lincoln. The Hillmen moved the ball well, but three turnovers proved costly. Colfax coach Tony Martello is well aware of Placer’s potential. “They stubbed their toes last week, which is a little scary,” Martello said. “They’re explosive. They can put up a lot of points. They’re very well coached and very efficient, coupled with the fact they have great athletes.” The Hillmen continue to shine on defense. They surrendered just 274 total yards to the Zebras as Caleb Mitchell and Josh Klem racked up 13 tackles apiece. Del Oro (7-1) at Rocklin (8-0) The Thunder are the surprise of the Sierra Foothill League after streaking to an 8-0 start. They can wrap up the SFL title with a victory over the rival Golden Eagles, who could stay in the title hunt themselves with a victory. Rocklin’s formula for success is similar to Del Oro’s. The Thunder run the ball effectively with shifty senior Jackson Cummings (144 yards per game, 18 TDs) and aren’t afraid to throw it either. Junior quarterback Jimmy Laughrea has thrown 18 TDs with just three interceptions, averaging 205 yards per game through the air. Senior linebackers Daniel Lessard and Sean Moore lead a defense that has forced 17 turnovers in eight games. Del Oro must recover after last week’s 16-9 loss at Woodcreek in which turnovers took their toll. “With the Del Oro loss we know they will be at their best,” Rocklin coach Greg Benzel said. Look for the Eagles to turn to Bryce Pratt, who has 1,467 yards rushing on the year and 24 touchdowns. Max Magleby has also been effective throwing the ball, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions. Lincoln (8-0) at Bear River (4-4) The Bruins are in need of a major upset to keep their playoff hopes alive. Bear River (1-3 PVL) must beat Lincoln and El Dorado in its final two games to have a shot at an at-large berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s new playoff format. The Bruins busted out of a two-game losing skid with a 28-7 win last week at Mesa Verde. Junior Sam Houston provided a spark in the absence of senior Johnny Jewett, who was nursing an injury. Houston rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns while Colby Angus added 118 yards rushing. Bear River will look to attack a defense that allowed just six points to Placer’s explosive offense last week. The Zebras’ offense is loaded with weapons, including fullback Tim Bevins and running back Moses Stanley. Foresthill (5-3) at Delta (6-2) The Wildfires can clinch the school’s first playoff berth with a win, but it won’t be easy. The Saints run the ball well with Raul Hernandez and Travis Reynolds. As a team, they average more than 275 yards per game on the ground. Foresthill will counter with speedy sophomore Colton Rhone and a defense led by linebacker Jake Henry. It’s the Sacramento Metro Athletic League finale for both teams. Whitney (6-2) at Golden Sierra (2-6) Two teams hurting from injuries will meet in a non-league contest in Garden Valley. The Wildcats are riding a four-game winning streak after falling to Lincoln in their Pioneer Valley League opener. The Grizzlies have won two in a row in Golden Empire League play.