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Hillmen light up LeFebvre

Placer jumps out to 21-0 lead, then holds off Nunley, Timberwolves
By: Todd Mordhorst Gold Country News Service
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By Todd Mordhorst Gold Country News Service The Placer High football team dashed out to a 21-0 lead and not even James Nunley could catch the Hillmen Friday night. Woodcreek’s star tailback terrorized the Hillmen for a second straight year, but the Hillmen ran away with a 49-35 victory at Le Febvre Stadium. Placer (2-0) took advantage of three interceptions and a Nunley fumble in the first quarter to avenge a double-overtime loss to Woodcreek last season. The Hillmen piled up 302 rushing yards to counter Nunley, who finished with 273 on 32 carries. Senior Asher Gotzmer ran for 155 and four touchdowns on just 12 carries to lead the Placer attack. “Offensively, we had a couple guys down on our line and guys managed to step up and our run game was absolutely superb,” said Placer senior Cameron Southward, who caught six passes for 137 yards and one touchdown. “Our passing game was really good. We’re rolling.” Woodcreek had a chance late in the game. Nunley’s 4-yard touchdown run with 9 minute, 47 seconds left capped a 67-yard drive. Then a three-and out by Placer gave Woodcreek the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead midway through the fourth quarter. But Placer’s Aaron Maddox picked off Mazzuca and returned the ball 21 yards for a touchdown to all but seal the win. In the end, Woodcreek had too much ground to make up after the Hillmen’s explosion in the first quarter. “They came out and jumped on us early and that’s what you expect from a team that went to the section finals last year,” Woodcreek coach Greg Hildebrand said. “That probably was the difference, because from there it was a pretty even ballgame. But we turned it over (four) times and it’s not often that you win when you do that.” Quarterback Collin Burnett had a sensational night for the Hillmen, hitting on 8 of 9 passes for 227 yards. The offensive line of Conner McKenzie, Zack Scott, Mason Shelly, Brandon Pope and Jake Styler handled Woodcreek’s stout defensive line all night long. “I was proud of the kids’ resilience tonight,” Placer coach Joey Montoya said. “Everything that could go against us, did and we still found a way to win.” Nunley was limited to 75 yards in Woodcreek’s season-opening loss to Casa Roble. But the senior was back in fine form against Placer, scoring on touchdown runs of 56, 6 and 4 yards. “That guy’s a Division I player, definitely,” Southward said. “We just tried to plug the holes and wrap up, keep our feet driving. He still ran through a lot of tackles.” Woodcreek began to climb out of its first-half hole when quarterback Matt Mazzuca hit Demetrio Cardenas with a 16-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. The two teams then traded touchdowns before halftime. Gotzmer ran around end for an 80-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to make it 35-14, but the Timberwolves fought back. Mazzuca found Brandon White Bear with a 12-yard touchdown pass, and then Nick Layton pounced on a Placer fumble to set up a 6-yard touchdown scamper by Nunley. Placer found some breathing room after another Gotzmer touchdown run and turned to its defense, which held Woodcreek scoreless over the final nine minutes of the game. Placer junior Caleb Mitchell had a first-quarter interception to snuff out an early scoring chance for Woodcreek. Senior Brett Lenz picked off a pass late in the fourth. Placer will get another stiff test next Friday as they visit 2008 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion Casa Roble, which beat Vista del Lago 26-6 Friday night. Junior Varsity Placer fought off Woodcreek for a 26-14 win. Colton Davenport rushed for two touchdowns and David Daniel caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Johnny Foley in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Joe Mangino also rushed for a touchdown for the Hillmen (2-0). Nick Rohde and Dan Dougherty led a strong effort by Placer’s defensive line.