Placer High School ready for some football

Hillmen expecting 'four-quarter war' vs. Central Catholic
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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The wait is over.

The Placer Hillmen are ready to kick off their 2012 high school football campaign Friday at 7 p.m. against the Central Catholic Raiders in Modesto.

The Raiders (1-0) are heading into the contest with a 68-6 “zero week” rout of Stockton’s Brookside Christian (0-1) under their belts.

In some ways, having already played a game could work out as an advantage for Placer’s foe.

“It always helps any time you play — no doubt,” Hillmen coach Joey Montoya said. “I don’t see it as an advantage or disadvantage. But they got to taste a bit first.”

Placer’s star defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, however, sees it as beneficial for the opposition.

“It’s an advantage because they get to look at the film and make adjustments, technique-wise,” said Vanderdoes, who recently made a verbal commitment to Southern California. “Getting in a game rhythm helps, but we’re hungry and ready to play.”

The night before Central Catholic won its opener, the Hillmen were participating in a multi-team scrimmage at Rio Linda to gear up for their first contest of the season.

Montoya wasn’t aware at the time, but Central Catholic had some scouts on hand to try and gain some insight on Placer.

“They run a very up-tempo Wing,” Raiders assistant coach Leroy Rocha said of the Hillmen offense, according to the Modesto Bee. “We were at the scrimmage and timed them, 2.5 to 3.9 seconds from the break of the huddle to the snap.”

When the quote was brought to Montoya’s attention, he said he had become aware of the situation when listening to the radio.

He added, “Our goal is to do it under three seconds, on every play.”

Montoya also pointed out that his staff was scouting Central Catholic in its opener.

“I think it’s just what coaches do,” Montoya said. “We went down to see them on Saturday. It’s always good to see them in live motion. It’s good to get a live scout.”

So what did he get out of the trek?

“Confirming what we’ve seen from them (on tape),” he said. “They are a very good football team. They’re well coached, big, strong and fast.”

Central Catholic’s big players include tight end Johnny Mundt, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior who has verbally committed to Oregon.

“He’s going to come out to play just like the rest of the team,” Vanderdoes said of Mundt. “They’re going to come hungry just like we are.”

In addition to being hungry, the Hillmen head into the contest rather healthy. The only Placer player not expected to suit up is cornerback Tyler Lipsmeyer (knee), who could be out two to six weeks, Montoya said. Lipsmeyer, a senior, was returning this year from a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Central Catholic will be playing without transfer Rey Vega, a senior running back who rushed for 3,500 yards and 42 touchdowns in two seasons at Davis High. Vega must sit out until October because of CIF’s new transfer rule.

“The other one’s very good,” Montoya said of Raiders back Ray Lomas IV, who ran for 107 yards on seven carries last week “They’re well balanced. They’ve got a great running game and throw the ball well.”

Earlier in the week, Vanderdoes hyped the game up on Twitter.

“Biggest game of the year this Friday...2 excited!! #BigGame #4QuarterShowDown,” he tweeted.

Asked to elaborate on Thursday, he said, “We both match up well. We’re a great team. They’re a great team. It’s going to be a four-quarter war.”

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow his tweets live from the game in Modesto on Twitter @matthewkimel