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Placer football beefs up schedule

Sierra Scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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A hugely anticipated Placer High football season will be no cakewalk as coach Joey Montoya?s club will take on some impressive non-league competition beginning Aug. 31 in Modesto. Placer kicks off the 2012 season at Central Catholic ? a small-school power in the central valley. The Raiders are best known for their nine Sac-Joaquin Section titles, more than any other football program. All of those banners were won since 1999. In 2012, the Raiders bring back big-time tight end/defensive end John Munt, who had 7.5 sacks as a junior. They?ve also got some impressive skill position players back in receiver Nate Loya and tailbacks Blake Escobar and Ray Lomas. In Week 2, the Hillmen will participate in the ?Smack Down in Sac Town? for a second straight year. Last season Placer crushed Brookside Christian. Montoya expects much better competition against Foothill of Palo Cedro this fall. Foothill was the runner-up in the Northern Section Division I playoffs in 2011, finishing with a 10-2 record. The Cougars feature more than a few massive linemen and bring back a big-time wide receiver in 6-4 Cooper Janusevskis, who had 13 touchdowns last season. Placer?s home debut is Sept. 14 as it renews what has become a heated rivalry with Casa Roble. The Hillmen and Rams have played some epic games over the past four seasons. Placer nearly rallied from a four-touchdown deficit last year in Orangevale, but the Rams held on for a 61-58 win. Expect Casa to be big and explosive again. Kody Jones returns at running back after rushing for 1,500 yards as a junior. Yuba City visits Placer in a Week 4 battle. The Honkers had a down year in 2011, but quarterback Taylor Elkins is back along with standout linebacker/tight end Anthony Fleenor. Always-tough Woodcreek looms in Week 5 for Placer before the Hillmen dive into Pioneer Valley League play. Homecoming is Oct. 5 against Foothill. Placer will draw a lot of attention next season as Eddie Vanderdoes draws coaches, scouts and media from all over the country. Quarterback Peter Denham is also on the recruiting radar as Ivy League schools are interested in the bright, strong-armed senior-to-be. Vanderdoes already has his pick of just about every major program in the country. On Friday, USC became the latest college football power to offer Vanderdoes a full ride. Earlier last week, it was Miami. Vanderdoes has said he is in no rush to make a decision. The easy-going 6-4, 295-pound junior seems to be enjoying the process. Last month USC coaches followed the big man around the Placer campus and to James Field, where they caught one of his mammoth home runs on camera. Last weekend, Vanderdoes was in Eugene, Ore. to take in the Ducks? spring football game. All told, Vanderdoes has more than 30 scholarship offers including from just about every school in the Pac-12, Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama and Oklahoma. Todd Mordhorst?s column runs Sundays in the Journal. Follow him on Twitter @AJToddM.