Placer High defense could be scary good

After dominant outing, Vanderdoes says unit has not reached its ‘100 percent full potential’
By: Matthew Kimel / Journal sports editor
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When the Placer Hillmen allowed runs of 55 and 65 yards in the first quarter of their Week 2 game against Foothill of Palo Cedro, a sense of deja vu was in the air.

It appeared that the holes in the Hillmen’s defense, which gave up three straight big touchdown plays in Week 1, had resurfaced.

Perhaps that’s what led star defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes to say his team’s defensive unit has yet to peak.

But at the end of Placer’s 42-14 rout at Oak Ridge High School, it was apparent the Hillmen had patched up their defense.

“I thought we played a lot better,” said Vanderdoes, comparing this week’s outing to last week’s 48-30 victory over Central Catholic in Modesto. “We executed a lot better as a team. I think we were more prepared.

“We still got a few more notches to go. I don’t think we reached our 100 percent full potential.”

If the product the Hillmen showed between Foothill’s opening drive and closing drive, which both went for touchdowns, is a sign of things to come, teams in the Pioneer Valley League could be in for trouble.

After giving up the opening-drive TD, the Hillmen stopped Foothill’s offense on five straight drives.

Though Cougars running back Jacob Shaddox ripped off runs of 55 and 65 yards on Foothill’s first two drives, he was a none-factor after that, running for just five yards.

“We came out getting a feel for what they were doing and made adjustments,” Vanderdoes said.

Coach Joey Montoya said the team spent the past week trying to fix issues it had in Week 1. And for the most part Friday, he was happy with what he saw from the sideline.

“I thought we addressed some of the issues we needed to address,” he said. “We still made some mistakes. … We didn’t tackle very well in the first period. I really thought after the first series we played really well against a prolific offense.”

Placer held Foothill in check aside from the two big runs. Foothill totaled just 154 rushing yards and 127 passing yards a week after amassing 590 yards of total offense in a blowout victory over Reed of Nevada, last year’s Nevada large-school runner-up.

Jacob Peek, Jake Lewis and Vanderdoes helped limit quarterback Ryan Pollard with sacks.

Following the opener in Modesto, Montoya said his defense lost focus after the Hillmen took a 24-0 lead. That was never an issue this week.

“We didn’t let off,” linebacker Tony Suverkropp said. “We didn’t get complacent.”

If the Hillmen defense stays focused, things could get scary for future opponents.

Said Vanderdoes: “We are going to keep getting better and better.”

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel