Hillmen host home opener vs. Casa Roble tonight

Placer is 1-6 vs. Rams since 2005
By: Matthew Kimel / Journal sports editor
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Home sweet home.

After opening the season with a two-game road trip, the Hillmen finally get to play in familiar surrounds Friday night when they host the Casa Roble Rams at LeFebvre Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be a packed house,” coach Joey Montoya said. “It’s our first home game. It should be a fun atmosphere. It’s good to be home.”

Placer High (2-0) looks to remain perfect after multiple-score victories over Central Catholic of Modesto and Foothill of Palo Cedro.

The Rams (1-2), a nonleague team the Hillmen face yearly, hope to rebound after two straight losses, including a 29-22 loss to Fruitland of Idaho at Saturday’s Football for Families showcase fundraiser, which Placer participated in last Friday.

Montoya got a first-hand look at Casa Roble Saturday morning in El Dorado Hills.

“They really run the ball well,” Montoya said when asked what he saw. “They are balanced. I expect it to be another 48-minute great game.”

In particular, Montoya said Rams quarter Peyton Wilfley, running back Kody Jones, and receivers Eric Morris and Jake Romine stood out.

Wilfley has thrown seven touchdowns on the season. Jones is averaging 11 yards a carry on 43 attempts.

Of Jones, Placer running back and strong safety Isaac Brahce said, “He’s got good balance and everything. He’s tough to take down. We need to keep him contained.”

The Hillmen and the Orangevale invaders are considered rivals because of their frequent showdowns. Placer, however, is 1-6 against the Rams since 2005. Casa Roble has won the last two meetings, 61-58 (2011) and 41-33 (’10). In ’09, the Hillmen scored a 31-30 victory at Casa Roble.

“The last three years the games come down to the last play,” Montoya said of the Placer-Casa Roble matchup. “They’ve been great games and battles. Year in and year out they seem to be at their best when they play against us.”

Despite the Hillmen’s two-game losing streak to the Rams, Montoya said there is no revenge factor involved in this game.

“It’s a new year,” the coach added. “Last year is in the past. We know the mistakes we made and the things we need to improve on. Last year’s team is different than this year.”

Placer senior Eddie Vanderdoes was already looking forward to Week 3 the moment Friday’s contest against Foothill ended.

“Very, very, very big game for us,” Vanderdoes said. “Probably the hardest game of the season for us. Week 3 has always been a wake-up week, the week we always fell to Casa.”

Brahce, too, was aware of the series history between the two teams.

“Last couple of years they’ve been a big game for us,” he said. “We know they’re going to come out to play. It’s a big rival for us.”

The Hillmen’s Tyler Lipsmeyer (knee) and Hugo Lopez (knee) have both been ruled out for Friday, Montoya said. They could be back in time for the Sept. 28 game at Woodcreek.

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel for live updates from tonight's game.