Hillmen host Honkers in battle of unbeatens tonight

Old rivals to meet in Auburn under Friday night lights
By: Matthew Kimel / Journal sports editor
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Something’s got to budge.

The 3-0 Placer High School football team hosts the 4-0 Yuba City Honkers Friday night at LeFebvre Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Hillmen are coming off a 63-21 victory in which they held a 43-0 lead early in the third quarter.

Placer coach Joey Montoya expects a more closely-contested match this week.
“No doubt, closer than the last one,” he said. “They do a good enough job on both sides of the ball 48 minutes a game.”

Yuba City beat then-unbeaten Bella Vista last week and has recorded victories over Davis, River City and Liberty Ranch.

Like the Hillmen, the Honkers have a strong ground game, averaging 320 yards per contest. Operating out of a veer offense, fullbacks Nate Van Dusen (514 yards) and Austin VanPoole (182 yards) and quarterback Taylor Elkins (152 yards) take a majority of the carries.

“Their QB is a big, thick kid, probably over 200 pounds,” Montoya said of Elkins. “... Our defense needs to do a great job of sticking to their job.”

The Hillmen defense, thus far, has done its job, alright. The Hillmen have trailed just once, 7-6 in the first quarter against Foothill of Palo Cedro in Week 2.

Placer defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, who has been credited with a team-high three sacks, told the Journal on Twitter he’s very excited for the game.

“So far best oline I will be facing..big with great pad level,feet,and technique,” he wrote in a tweet. “This should be a great preseason match up. And another great test for us. Couldn’t be more excited for this Friday.”

Montoya said defensive lineman Ryan Talley (knee), cornerback Tyler Lipsmeyer (ankle) and Huge Lopez (ankle) won’t suit up Friday. Casey Yunk (head) will be a game-time decision, Montoya said. 

The Hillmen and the Honkers have a long history, dating back more than 60 years when both teams were in the old Sierra Foothill League.

During a stretch in the 1960s, the Honkers annually fielded the team to beat in the SFL with the Oliver Brothers – Mel, Bernard and Bill – running through opposing defenses.

In 1976-77, Bill Miller and Tom Johnson’s Hillmen played two epic non-league games against the Honkers, with each team winning on its home field. Both of those Placer squads went on to win CIF Div. II championships.

“Back in the ’70s, they were an old rival,” Montoya said. “We haven’t played them in a long time, probably since 1993 or 1994. Two good football programs. They are a little bigger than us, they play in Division III.

“Their kids play hard and they’re physical. It’s going to be a great game to watch.”

Gold Country News Service’s Mike Ray contributed to this report.

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