Placer braces for Patterson’s beef

Prep Football Preview
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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It doesn’t happen often, but tonight at Le Febvre Stadium, Placer High junior Eddie Vanderdoes won’t be the big man on campus.
Patterson comes to town for the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs and the Tigers boast a trio of linemen that will make the 6-4, 295-pound Vanderdoes look average-sized.
Brothers Tim and Andrew Tupuola weigh in at a combined 700 pounds while USC-bound defensive end Pio Vatuvei isn’t exactly small at 6-3, 365.
“They’ve got a number of guys that are Eddie-like,” Placer coach Joey Montoya said. “They’re a very good football team. They’re big, and very talented. We’ve got our hands full.”
The Tigers are a true heavyweight despite their No. 10 seed in the postseason. They were the last team to beat Escalon, which won the CIF small-school state championship last season.
Patterson (7-3) finished third in the Western Athletic League behind Los Banos and Central Catholic. The Tigers lost 58-22 last week to Central Catholic.
Placer (8-2) earned the No. 7 seed in Division III after finishing second in the Pioneer Valley League.
The Hillmen will unleash their rushing attack, which has cranked out more than 3,700 yards this season. The passing game could be key against Patterson’s massive defensive front. Junior Peter Denham has completed 53 percent of his passes, averaging 100 yards per game with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Montoya said Placer will need to utilize its team speed to get past the Tigers.
“Luckily we’ve got some speed and we’re going to mix up the things we do,” Montoya said. “It comes down to, our kids have got to show up and do what they do. We’ll let the rest take care of itself.”
Patterson relies heavily on its running game, led by senior George Garcia. He’s gained 1,120 yards on the year with 15 TDs.

Sacramento (6-4) at Del Oro (9-1)
The second-seeded Golden Eagles begin defense of their section championship at home against the No. 15 Dragons.
Sacramento closed the regular season with five straight wins, though they came in the weak Metro League. The Dragons feature skilled junior Josiah Johnson at quarterback. He passes for 200 yards per game and has 22 touchdowns with just five interceptions on the season.
Del Oro will look to control the game with its rushing tandem of Nick O’Sullivan and Brandon Monroe, who have both piled up more than 1,000 yards for the season.

Bear River (7-3) at Sonora (7-3)

The ninth-seeded Bruins will take the long, winding road to Sonora, where a tough eight-seeded Wildcats squad awaits.
Bear River is looking to bounce back after a 48-0 loss to Colfax last week. Sonora suffered a 42-7 loss to Oakdale last week.
The Bruins will look to establish their running game with seniors Josh Toft and Devaughn Lofton. Senior quarterback James Harris has passed for more than 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season.
Sonora finished 5-2 in the Valley Oak League. The Wildcats feature quarterback Dylan Fernandes in their read-option offense.

Dixon (4-6) at Colfax (10-0)
The Rams may be a long shot to knock off the No. 2 seed tonight. But Dixon’s postseason hopes were all but dead four weeks ago before a serious rally to end the regular season.
Dixon is won four straight games after starting the season 0-6. Burly 235-pound junior Korey Hall leads the Rams, averaging more than six yards per carry on the season.
The Falcons counter with their balanced offense, which averages 494 yards per game. Senior Hunter Perez could go over the 2,000-yard rushing mark with a big game tonight. Senior David Mowbray needs just 43 receiving yards to hit the 1,000-yard mark.