Hillmen hosting new-look Wolves

Falcons also at home for postseason opener
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
-A +A
Woodland High football coach Bert Salinas might not agree with Joey Montoya’s take on the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III football playoff bracket “We went from being Goliath to David,” Montoya said after Placer High landed in the Division III playoffs. The Hillmen may be the smallest school enrollment-wise in the Div. III postseason, but the Wolves have felt Placer’s wrath already this season. Placer pummeled Woodland 58-20 back on Sept. 24 in Woodland. Montoya said Woodland is a completely different team now. The Wolves moved junior star Dalen Jones to quarterback from receiver and have incorporated many new plays into their offense since the Hillmen last saw them. “They’ve gotten a lot better,” Montoya said. “Having (Jones) at quarterback gives them a whole new element. They have several trick plays they run and their offense has really opened up.” Woodland turned heads with its 27-26 win over cross-town rival Pioneer last Friday. The win put the Wolves in the playoffs. Placer closed the regular season with resounding wins over Center and Foothill after a devastating loss at Colfax that left the Falcons on top of the Pioneer Valley League. The Hillmen will welcome back senior Josh Turney, who did not play in the regular season finale because of a possible concussion suffered in the Colfax game. Placer will also see senior defensive end Zach Scott back on the field. Sophomore fullback Michael Robinson is still nursing an ankle injury and is questionable for tonight’s game. Placer has played in two straight section title games, though they were both in the Division IV ranks. “We’re the smallest team in Division III and there are very solid teams, especially on our side of the bracket,” Montoya said. “I think Del Oro has to be the favorite, but there’s Manteca and Oakdale. We can’t afford to look past anybody. We’re not playing below average teams.” Del Oro (6-4) at East Union (7-3) The 11th seeded Golden Eagles are underdogs again, at least according to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II seeds. They will face the sixth-seeded Lancers tonight in Manteca. Del Oro won four straight games to claim a share of the Sierra Foothill League title. Meanwhile East Union stunned previously unbeaten Manteca 10-7 in the regular season finale to earn a home playoff date. The Lancers’ offense relies on senior quarterback Teejay Gordon, who can beat teams with the pass or on the ground. Speedy junior Steven Gigli leads East Union in rushing, averaging 61 yards per game. The Eagles have surged behind tailbacks Kenny Andri and Nick O’Sullivan and a defense that has come of age. Junior Tanner Huber leads the Eagles in tackles while junior Russell Smith has three big interceptions. Division IV Orestimba (6-4) at Colfax (8-2) If there’s one thing for sure about today’s Colfax-Orestimba match up, it’s that the Falcons should plan on getting a double dose of the Pious brothers. “They have some outstanding skill players,” said Colfax coach Tony Martello about the Warriors who will be playing in their first playoff game since 1990. “We’re expecting a tough game. They would be in the top tier of our league.” Quarterback Ravonne Pious has thrown for 1,675 yards this season and accounted for 20 touchdowns through the air. The multi-threat signal-caller is also a weapon on the ground as he scored on a 77-yard run last week against Ripon along with taking back a pass interception 31 yards for another score. “We run a spread formation out of the gun with three or four wide,” said first-year coach Aaron Souza. “It’s a long trip up there but we’re excited to be playing Colfax.” Brother Ramone Pious is the Warriors top receiver as he has snagged 35 passes for 795 yards and 10 scores. Raymond Musquez (22-434) and Chase Riley (20-267) are the Warriors’ other top receivers. While Ravonne Pious has rolled up over 600 yards rushing and nine scores from his QB post, the Warriors’ top rusher is speedy Mike King who has 155 carries for 840 yards and 11 TDs. The Colfax-Orestimba winner will play the winner of Friday’s Argonaut-Hilmar game next week. Bear River (7-3) at Marysville (7-3) The Bruins will take a short road trip to face the Indians, who won the Golden Empire League title. Marysville features two explosive runners. Speedy senior Michael Barabin averages 133 yard per game while burly sophomore Cole Hannum adds 114 per outing. Bear River has a nice one-two punch itself with junior Josh Toft and senior Sam Houston. Quarterback James Harris has played well down the stretch for the Bruins, who are looking to rebound from their loss at Colfax last week. The Bruins will need a big night from top defenders Jimmy Bamburg, Tyler Quirarte, Michael Mascari and Dillon Huffman. Division V Foresthill (6-4) at Big Valley Christian (8-2) The Wildfires will make their playoff debut in Modesto against the runner-up from the Central California League. Foresthill took second in the Sacramento Metro Athletic League after falling to undefeated Delta in its final game of the regular season. The Wildfires will face a balanced rushing attack led by Luke Lemings and Nick Martin. Foresthill senior Travis Marshall has come on strong. The 5-7, 140-pound tailback leads the team with 805 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Junior Tyler Giles and senior Alex Harley lead the Wildfire defense.