Placer Hillmen too much to handle for Foothill of Palo Cedro

Denham throws 2 TDs to Brahce in rout
By: Matthew Kimel / Journal sports editor
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EL DORADO HILLS – It’s usually a good sign when your second-unit offense gets playing time in the fourth quarter.

Such was the case Friday night for the Placer Hillmen, who romped past a highly-regarded Foothill of Palo Cedro team, 42-14, in the showcase of a Football for Families fundraiser at Oak Ridge High School.

“All in all, I’m really proud of the kids,” coach Joey Montoya said. “I’m really happy almost everybody got to play. We beat a really good football team there. “

The Hillmen built a 42-7 lead before a running clock was called for in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Peter Denham threw two touchdowns to Isaac Brahce and the Hillmen got rushing touchdowns from Michael Robison, Todd Vallerie, Cameron Scott and Brahce, as they improved to 2-0.

Though Denham overthrew a wide-open Stone Sander twice on deep passes, he was effective on the night. He completed 9 of 16 attempts for 175, including touchdowns of 30 and 41 yards to Brahce in the third quarter.

“We noticed their safeties were playing up a little bit and we had been so effective on the run that the play action was really open,” Denham said of his connections with Brahce. “Isaac is really fast, so we threw it past the safeties.”

Like last week, Placer showed flashes of defensive troubles early, allowing two runs of 55 and 65 yards. But the unit was able to bookend opening- and closing-drive scores allowed with a complete shutdown of the Foothill (1-1) offense.

“I really thought after the first series we played really well against a prolific offense,” said Montoya, one week after saying his team’s 48-30 victory at Central Catholic of Modesto was “sloppy” because it allowed too many big plays.

For the second straight week, the Hillmen scored a touchdown on the opening drive.

Placer jumped out to a 6-0 lead just one minute into the contest on a Robinson touchdown run. Dominic Granieri, however, missed the extra point.

The score came after a fortunate bounce, when the Hillmen’s Tony Suverkropp recovered the opening kickoff at the Foothill 32.

“I came out and knew what I needed to do,” Suverkropp said of the set play. “Dominic kicked a great ball and it had a sweet bounce. I got up and had my hands on it. I was pumped up.”

The lead didn’t last long, as the Hillmen trailed for the first time this season after the Cougars immediately answered Robinson’s score. A Ryan Pollard touchdown pass was set up after Foothill was able to convert on fourth-and-inches with a 55-yard Jacob Shaddox run.

Apparently the Hillmen didn’t like the feeling of being down on the scoreboard, as they would go on to score 36-straight points.

Vallerie led the Hillmen’s ground game with 112 yards on eight carries, including his beautifully executed 63-yard score, in which he broke countless tackles.

Logan Markstein, Nathan Ralls and Scott combined for nearly 100 rushing yards when Vallerie, Robinson and Brahce were given the rest of the night off.

Placer allowed 154 rushing yards, mostly in the first half on two carries, but Foothill wasn’t able to add any points on the board until mop-up time.

The closest the Cougars came to adding points after their initial touchdown and a last-minute score came on a first-quarter field goal miss by Davis Kepon, which appeared to be blocked. That squandered a 65-yard run from Shaddox, who had 134 yards on the night.

Pollard finished the night 8 of 15 for 127 yards and two scores. He was sacked by Jacob Peek and Jake Lewis. Peek and Eddie Vanderdoes teamed up on another sack.

Vanderdoes, a national recruit and USC verbal commit, said Placer’s defense hasn’t reached its full potential yet.

“We were feeling out the offense,” Vanderdoes said of the early miscues. “Once we got the hang of it, we kept rolling.”


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