Placer holds on for second victory

By: Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Correspondent
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VALLEJO -Had its defense not repeatedly put out fires Saturday night, the Placer High football team could easily have gotten burned. The Hillmen hung on to beat host Bethel 27-26 in a non-league game at Vallejo High School’s Corbus Field. However, Placer (2-0) made beating the Jaguars (1-1) a lot harder than it had to be. Placer racked up more than 100 yards in penalties, 70 of them in the first quarter. In addition, the Hillmen committed five fumbles, losing four — including one inside the Bethel five and two more on long runs by running backs Josh Turney and Michael Robinson. The Hillmen’s mistakes allowed Bethel to erase a 20-0 deficit and tie the score early in the fourth quarter. Still, the Placer defense stepped up when it counted most: Inside linebackers Caleb Mitchell and Colton Davenport each stuffed two-point conversion runs by Jaguars quarterback K’lan Anderson, and those four points proved crucial at the end of the game. Turney, a senior, scored the go-ahead touchdown for Placer with 4:27 remaining. Bethel responded on the ensuing drive when Anderson completed his third TD pass of the night, a 32-yarder to senior Marquize Pearson with 2:25 to play. Davenport stopped the conversion after that TD to preserve the win for Placer. Robinson, a sophomore, led the Placer offense with 17 carries for 131 yards and one touchdown. Turney finished with 10 carries for 97 yards, and junior running back Joe Mangino also had a rushing TD for the Hillmen. Senior running back/defensive back Darren Centi shone on both sides of the ball. In addition to catching an 80-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Collin Burnett for Placer’s first score, Centi intercepted two passes in the second quarter. Senior defensive back Cameron Hennen also had an interception for the Hillmen. His pick prevented a game-tying TD in the first quarter. Junior varsity Cornerback Corey Schlittenhart broke up a pass on the game’s final play, preventing a winning touchdown and preserving a tie for the Hillmen (1-0-1). Running back Isaac Grace scored one of Placer’s touchdowns. The other came on a 6-yard pass from quarterback Casey Yunk to wide receiver Jalyn Lewis. Running back Alex Graziano carried much of the load offensively for Placer, while linebacker Tony Suverkropp had two sacks on defense.