Placer High runs past Central Catholic, 48-30
MODESTO - The Hillmen started off fast and they finished strong.
Aside from a couple of unforced turnovers and three consecutive long touchdown drives allowed, the Placer High School football team got its 2012 campaign underway with a solid 48-30 victory over a tough Central Catholic team Friday night in Modesto.
The Hillmen (1-0), who led throughout, broke the scoring when Todd Valliere took a 10-yard counter to the house. A Dominic Granieri field goal, his first of two on the night, gave Placer a 10-0 first-quarter lead. Isaac Brahce and Michael Robinson added touchdowns in the second quarter to put Placer up 24-0.
Just when it seemed like Central Catholic (1-1) was in for a long night, the Raiders put together scoring drives of 80, 73 and 70 yards, including touchdown runs of 74 and 40 yards by running back Ray Lomas IV (203 yards, 22 carries).
"We just have to work on staying focused for 48 minutes," said Placer coach Joey Montoya, who was pleased in general to open the season with a victory. "The momentum was in our favor, but we lost a little bit of focus. You got to give them (Central Catholic) credit, they fought for 48 minutes."
Nonetheless, the Hillmen still managed to outscore the Raiders 28-23 in the second quarter.
Placer took complete control of the contest in the third quarter, starting with a 90-yard drive that ate up most of the clock. Central Catholic's offense ran just three plays in the third quarter.
Led by Brahce (139 yards), Robinson (94 yards) and Valliere (63 yards), the Hillmen were dominant on the ground, gaining tons of yards after initial contact.
"That's what we want to do," said Brahce, who also added a 46-yard rushing TD. "We want to break tackles and get yards after the first hit."
Five of the Hillmen's six touchdowns came on the ground.
Linemen Brian Sabins, Jake Lewis, Connor Rubio, Wyatt Decker, Athen Allinger and Bryan Berube helped open up holes for the backs.
"We've got a great offense, a great offensive line," said Vallerie, who also caught two passes for 80 yards, including a 31-yard strike for a score from quarterback Peter Denham. "The line was working really hard."
Defensively, Robinson and Eddie Vanderdoes had a sack, Isaiah Pineiro added an interception and the Hillmen recovered a fumble.
The unit looked rather impressive early, stopping Central Catholic on its first six possessions and allowing just 20 first-quarter yards. But then the Hillmen gave up scores on three straight drives, putting Central Catholic back in the game at 31-23.
"Sometimes that happens and you have to stick with it," Brahce said.
Central Catholic 48, Placer 6 - The Hillmen (0-1) scored on an 85-yard kickoff return by Austin Hess to open the game, but weren't able to find the end zone the rest of the contest against host Central Catholic (1-0). The Hillmen, who trailed 28-6 at halftime, were limited to 65 yards of total offense.
Reach Matthew Kimel at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel