Hornets snap skid at Davis

Del Oro grads help Sacramento State win Causeway Classic for the first time since ‘99
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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DAVIS — As usual, his contributions were hardly highlight-reel material. Still, Bill Sherman was at the forefront of it all. As the Sacramento State football team’s nose guard, the Del Oro High graduate helped key a monster defensive effort in the Hornets’ 29-19 over archrival UC Davis on Saturday in the annual Causeway Classic. Sac State (5-5) stopped five drives inside the 35-yard line to post its first victory over the Aggies (5-5) since 1999. “We have a bend-but-don’t-break policy,” said senior linebacker Cyrus Mulitalo, one of the biggest beneficiaries of Sherman’s efforts on the defensive line. “We might give up a lot of yards, but we don’t want to let them get into the end zone.” Sacramento State improved to .500 for the first time since Sherman arrived at the school along with former Del Oro teammate Brian Heath. “We really wanted to do this for our seniors,” said Sherman, a junior, who finished with two tackles. “They’ve worked way too hard not to experience this.” “It’s been a few years since we were .500, but it doesn’t stop there,” said Heath, a junior tight end wearing a green-and-gold “Beat Davis” T-shirt. “We’re going to try to keep working and end the season right. “This turns over to next year. We’re really going to try to build off this.” UC Davis quarterback Greg Denham, a Placer High graduate, lost despite a solid effort in which he completed 26 of 42 passes for 307 yards and one touchdown. The sophomore also threw two interceptions – both in the fourth quarter — and was sacked twice for losses totaling 15 yards. Still, Denham didn’t want to give the Hornets’ defense too much credit. The Aggies outgained Sac State in total yardage, 467-317. “When it was time to make big plays, they made big plays,” he said. “But I wouldn’t say they did anything special. We just made some mistakes on our part.” Also appearing in the game for UC Davis was Del Oro graduate Danny Hart. The sophomore free safety had a lead role on special teams, going after the punter in an attempt to block kicks. No defensive stand was more crucial for the Hornets than the one at the start of the fourth quarter. UC Davis started the period at second-and-6 on Sac State’s 9-yard-line, but on third-and-4 Sherman helped hold Aggies fullback Dean Rogers two a two-yard gain. Rogers was stuffed again on the next play, and the Hornets got the ball back on downs. Twice, Sacramento State kept UC Davis from scoring on two-point conversions. “Those were big,” Sherman said. “They kept it at a two-possession game.” The victory was sealed for Sac State when sophomore strong safety Peter Buck picked off Denham’s final pass after Denham drove the Aggies down to the Hornets’ 14. It’s been so long since Sacramento State had a winning season that Sherman had to ask the Hornets’ media relations director when their last winning season was. The answer was 2000. Saturday’s win made Sherman bold enough to predict that the streak of losing seasons – just like the Hornets’ losing skid against the Aggies – would end this year. “We’re going to win our next two games and end up 7-5,” he said