King of the Hill-men: Vanderdoes says league win is highlight of his big week

By: Matthew Kimel / Journal sports editor
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Capping off a big week, Eddie Vanderdoes was named homecoming king at halftime of his Placer Hillmen’s football game. But for the senior defensive lineman, who was formally honored as a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection Wednesday, neither of those happenings were the highlight of his eventful week. “The league win is obviously first priority,” said Vanderdoes, who got the night off after one quarter in Placer High’s 68-14 romp in the Pioneer Valley League opener over Foothill Friday night at LeFebvre Stadium. “That was definitely the most important thing.” Placer (6-0, 1-0) jumped out to a 41-0 lead in the first quarter against the Mustangs (1-5, 0-1), marking the fourth straight contest the Hillmen have held their opponents scoreless in the opening 12 minutes. Since Week 2, the Hillmen have outscored the opposition 184-21 in the first half. Placer has scored 118 first-quarter points in that span, and allowed just one opening-quarter touchdown to Foothill five weeks. “It says a lot,” Vanderdoes said of his unit’s play. “It says we’re doing our job, coming out, working hard and playing to our ability every week.” Placer’s fast start Friday night is tough to document. It began with first-quarter touchdown runs by Isaac Brahce, Michael Robinson and Todd Vallerie; passes from Peter Denham to Stone Sander and Brahce; and a Tony Suverkropp pick-six. The Hillmen’s defense was equally impressive, coming up with three turnovers and forcing three three-and-outs during the same time frame. The fury of offense allowed coach Joey Montoya to clear the bench for the rest of the contest and get a horde of guys into the end zone. Carlos Saghun and Robbie Lopez had an interception, Michael Valdez recovered a fumble and Wyatt Decker recorded a sack for Placer, which preserved a shutout until Dillon Paris scored a TD with 1:14 left in the third quarter. Cameron Scott found pay dirt twice and Nathan Ralls and Chris James rushed for Hillmen scores. “Chris James scored tonight, one of my all-time favorite guys. I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Montoya said. “Every young man that got in the end zone tonight is well deserving of it.” Backup quarterback Logan Strange connected with Sander for a TD, too. “Pretty big week for everybody,” Montoya said. For Vanderdoes, the past week was one he’ll remember for a long time — but he’s already looking forward to next Friday when the Hillmen host unbeaten league foe Bear River (6-0, 1-0). “I had a lot of fun this week,” Vanderdoes said. “Coaching that powder puff, putting in a good week of practice, the homecoming dance (Saturday), and all that so I’m real excited to get to Bear River next week.” Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel