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Mesa Verde no match for Placer

Defense dominates while Hillmen put up highest point total in Montoya era
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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By Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor The scoreboard was lighting up at a ridiculous pace Friday night at LeFebvre Stadium, but Placer High football fans have grown accustomed to that in coach Joey Montoya’s three years at the helm. The difference in Hillman football this year is a punishing defense. Placer’s starting unit held Mesa Verde scoreless as the Hillmen pounded the Mavericks 61-13 to open Pioneer Valley League play. “Our goal coming in was to focus on ourselves, keep our team going and make ourselves better,” said senior Jarrad Weaver, who had three sacks in the first half. “We don’t want to get too cocky or underestimate anybody because anything can happen.” The Hillmen (4-0) put up the most points in Montoya’s tenure at Placer against an overmatched Maverick defense. Junior Collin Burnett threw touchdown passes to Asher Gotzmer and Cameron Southward in the first four minutes of the game and the rout was on. The Placer defense made sure the Mavericks never mustered a comeback. Weaver and his buddies on the defensive line spent most of their night in the Mesa Verde backfield. The Hillmen had eight tackles for loss in the first half alone. Placer also forced a fumble and Gotzmer had an interception as the Hillmen built a 27-0 lead by halftime. Gotzmer touched the ball just five times on offense, but scored two touchdowns, running his season total to 11. Josh Turney scored on runs of 1 and 5 yards. Kody Combs had a pair of touchdowns runs in the second half and Matthew Braica added one. Senior tight end got involved in the passing game as well. He had one long touchdown pass called back on a holding penalty. He set up Turney’s first touchdown with a nice catch on a 42-yard pass from Burnett. The game had a somewhat somber tone for the Hillmen. Junior center Zack Scott lost his father Tom Scott, 48, early last week. The Hillmen cheerleaders released white balloons and there was a moment of silence held prior to the game in honor of Scott, who helped coach the Placer freshman and was a coach with the Junior Hillmen . Zack, who started the first two games of the season, was on the sideline in street clothes Friday night cheering on his team. “A lot of people from the team, the Jr. Hillmen and the community have really rallied around the family and have been a good support base for him,” Montoya said. “It’s been neat to see people come around and be there for the family.” Zack had missed the Casa Roble game with the flu. “He’s had a really tough few weeks,” Montoya said. The coach said he left it up to his player when to return to the field and he expects to play again Friday at El Dorado. Mesa Verde’s starting quarterback Tucker Ennenga was injured on a sack late in the first quarter. He suffered a bruised pelvis, but due to the nature of the injury, he was immobilized and taken away in an ambulance, causing a delay of more than 30 minutes. Reserve quarterback Lawrence Hall threw two second-half touchdown passes for Mesa Verde (1-3). Sir Johnson finished with 125 yards on 25 carries for the Mavs. Junior varsity The Hillmen clobbered Mesa Verde 56-6 in their Pioneer Valley League opener to improve to 4-0 on the year. Peter Ho rushed for one touchdown and caught a TD pass from Johnny Foley to lead the offensive onslaught. Tyler Gardner, Joe Mangino and Jake Callahan all rushed for touchdowns. Foley threw touchdown passes to David Daniels and Jordan Rawls, who was a perfect 8-for-8 on point-after kicks. “We got to play all of our kids and got everyone a couple of touches on the ball, so that was good,” Placer coach Rick Foley said. “Our offensive line really played well again. They’re the strength of our team right now.” On defense, Tanner Jay led the way with three sacks. Daniels had an interception and Callahan recovered a fumble.