Placer 49, Center 6

Homecoming romp for Placer

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The celebrations were less rowdy and snarls were more prevalent on the Placer High sideline Friday night at Le Febvre Stadium. Homecoming was a festive affair as the Hillmen football team crushed Center 49-6, but it was business-like beating in Placer’s first game since a crushing overtime loss at Colfax one week earlier. “We definitely have something to prove now,” senior linebacker Cody Barger said. “We’re a different team. We’re working on all the little things and we’re out to win sections.” The Hillmen (3-1 Pioneer Valley League, 7-2 overall) had a couple of early hiccups against the Cougars, who had just six substitutes available for the game. But Joe Mangino and Brad Spangler ran for first-quarter touchdowns and Collin Burnett threw second-quarter TD passes to Darren Centi and Evan Staton as the Hillmen raced out to a big lead. By the time the Golden Hillmen Marching Band raced onto the field at halftime, it was 42-6. Placer played without starting fullback Michael Robinson, who is nursing an injured ankle. The Hillmen still had plenty of firepower with Spangler leading the way. The junior, who transferred from Nevada Union prior to the season, finished with 161 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Burnett was also sharp, hitting on 8 of 11 passes for 126 yards. Centi was his main target, hauling in six passes for 109 yards. Placer will face Foothill at home in its regular season finale next Friday. The Hillmen have a shot at a PVL title, but they need Bear River to beat Colfax, which would force a three-way tie for the championship between the foothill rivals. Placer players say they’re thinking long term and preparing for what they hope will be another long playoff run. The Hillmen played in the last two Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV finals. “I think we have a new mentality now,” said Staton, who scored the first touchdown of his career in the second quarter on a 12-yard pass from Burnett. “We’re looking forward to almost starting a new season. We’ve got to play football like we know we can. We’re trying to respond.” The Placer defense did not give up a touchdown against Center. The Cougars’ lone score came on a 95-yard kickoff return by Roberto Padilla in the second quarter. Senior Anthony Trull and sophomore Eddie Vanderdoes played well on the defensive line. Tyler Graves, Cameron Hennen and Casey Sabins had interceptions for the Hillmen. Sabins had a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. “I was really happy with our defense,” Placer coach Joey Montoya said. “Even our second unit came in and did a great job. We took a step in the right direction tonight.” In junior varsity action, Placer beat Center 40-7. On Thursday, the Placer freshmen edged Davis 16-14. Both Center and Foothill freshman football teams forfeited the remainder of their games. Cameron Scott rushed for both Placer touchdowns and added a key two-point conversion run for the winning margin in the third quarter. Noah Daly sparked the Hillmen on defense with an interception and five tackles while Philip Tuttle, Zach Phillips, Nick Moore, Riley Beames and Blake Lipsmeyer drew praise from coach Jim Gray for their defensive effort.