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Hillmen regroup for trip to Lincoln

By: Journal Sports Staff
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After some very bad news last week and a subpar showing last Friday against Bear River, Placer High football coach Joey Montoya delivered some good news this week. “The playoffs are still a possibility,” Montoya said. “Our kids have bounced back well. We emphasized putting last week behind us and we’ve had one of our better weeks of practice.” The Hillmen (1-6 overall, 0-3 Pioneer Valley League) must close the regular season with wins over Lincoln, Colfax and Whitney, which would give them a shot at the third and final PVL playoff spot. The journey begins tonight at Lincoln. The Zebras’ lone win this season came earlier this month against Mesa Verde. Lincoln was blown out by Whitney, before losing to El Dorado 35-28 on Oct. 17. “Lincoln’s big, they’re physical and they come right at you,” Montoya said. “On defense they run several different fronts we have to prepare for and they blitz.” Senior Matthew Paul (324 rushing yards) and junior Alex Cowden (299 yards) do the majority of the damage in Lincoln’s Wing-T offense. Placer’s offense hit a lull in the loss to Bear River. Placer was held to a season-low 14 points and was shut out in the second half. The Hillmen are still averaging more than 350 yards of offense per game, including 242 on the ground. Fullback Seth Parrish and wingback Asher Gotzmer have been the most effective rushing the ball, though Jake Lopez continues to progress after spraining his ankle earlier this season. “Bear River did a great job and we just lost our rhythm on offense,” Montoya said. “I’m not worried. I don’t think we lost our confidence. We just had opportunities that we couldn’t take advantage of.” The Hillmen will miss starting center Eric Milka, who is out the rest of the regular season with a fractured hand. He’s the second Placer player to break a bone this year. Senior linebacker Cody Romero broke his ankle in Placer’s overtime loss at Woodcreek. Woodcreek (4-3, 2-0) at Del Oro (2-5, 0-2) The Golden Eagles’ defense couldn’t contain Roseville’s star duo in a 38-35 heartbreaking loss last week. Del Oro returns home for its final three games, needing to win out for a potential shot at a playoff berth. The Eagles’ offense will need another stellar effort against the Timberwolves, who have won both their Sierra Foothill League games. James Nunley has been a workhorse on the ground for Woodcreek. The hard-running junior has 1,084 yards on 188 carries this season. Quarterback Tommy Murphy has thrown half of his 545 passing yards to Thomas Sandoval. Mesa Verde (1-6, 1-3) at Bear River (5-2, 2-1) The Bruins can close in on a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth with a win over the struggling Mavericks. Bear River is coming off an impressive 35-14 win at Placer in which they outscored the Hillmen 21-0 in the second half. The Bruins racked up more than 300 rushing yards and held Placer to just nine first downs for the game. The Mavericks have lost six games in a row on the field. Their lone Pioneer Valley League victory came via forfeit against Placer. Mesa Verde senior Sir Johnson has rushed for over 100 yards four times this season, including a 134-yard effort against Whitney last week in a 40-6 loss. Delta (2-5, 2-2) at Foresthill (3-4, 1-3) After failing to score in their first three Sacramento Metro League games, the Wildfires exploded in a 42-22 rout at Woodland Christian last Saturday. Foresthill wraps up the season with two games at home, starting with the Saints tonight. Golden Sierra (3-4, 2-2) at San Juan (4-3, 2-2) It’s been a season of one-sided games for the Grizzlies, who look to keep things rolling in the Golden Empire League after winning two of their last three. They host the Spartans in their final home game after beating Encina 48-18 on the road last week. Save for Golden Sierra’s season opener, nearly every game has been a blowout win or loss. Seven Grizzlies have rushed in three-figure yardage, totaling more than 2,000 as a team. Lindhurst whooped San Juan 53-21 a week ago to even their league record. Jordan Heines leads the Spartans with 357 rushing yards, while quarterback Myles Buss has thrown for more than 1,100 yards.