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Placer High football ready for another battle

Hillmen set to take on strong Foothill of Palo Cedro club
By: Matthew Kimel / Journal sports editor
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Looking to build off a Week 1 victory, the Placer High School football team will try to keep its perfect record intact when the Hillmen meet a strong Foothill of Palo Cedro team at Oak Ridge High in El Dorado Hills Friday night.


Hillmen coach Joey Montoya believes the Cougars (1-0) are one of the best teams his club will face this season. The Cougars are coming off a 50- 33 Week 1 victory over Reed of Nevada, last year’s Nevada large-school runner-up.


“They are perfectly balanced,” Montoya said of the Cougars, who threw for 251 yards and ran for 339 in their opener. “They distribute the ball to a bunch of weapons evenly.”


In Foothill’s win, quarterback Ryan Pollard connected on 15 of 17 passes for 251 yards and five scores, including three to Cooper Janusveskis.


Pollard (14 carries, 97 yards) and Jacob Shaddox (15 carries, 95 yards) carried the bulk of the load on the ground. Blake Burnett (four catches, 100 yards) and Janusveskis (eight catches, 107 yards) sparked the passing game.


“The QB is a scrambler,” Montoya said of Pollard. “They beat up on a really good team up in Reno, last year’s big-school runner-up. It wasn’t much of a game. They’re an offensive juggernaut. It’s going to be a heck of a game.”


From what he’s seen on tape, Hillmen tight end and defensive lineman Stone Sander said the Cougars appear to be well coached.


“They’ve got some good athletes,” he added. “It’s going to be a battle. It’s never going to be a walk in the park for us.”


Though the Hillmen beat a tough Central Catholic team 48-30 last week in Modesto, Montoya said the win was “sloppy,” as his team let up three straight touchdowns of 40 yards or more in the second quarter.


After a good week of practice, Montoya said, “We’ve addressed the issues we had last week and our kids are taking a step in the right direction.”


Sander said the team worked on refining what they didn’t do last week.


“All the little things,” he said. “Getting our steps down and understanding what Foothill is going to do. We’re getting prepared to know every play they are going to do in every situation.”


The Hillmen will suit up without cornerback Tyler Lipsmeyer (knee), who missed last week’s game, and backup running back and outside linebacker Hugo Lopez (knee), Montoya said. The coach added that Lipsmeyer could be back next week. He isn’t sure how long Lopez will be out.


Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com.Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel