Placer routs rival Casa Roble hours after accident involving fellow Hillmen
The Hillmen needed this one. The Auburn community did, too.
Hours after eight Placer High School students — including some athletes — were involved in a lunch-time rollover crash on Interstate 80 Friday, the Hillmen hosted their first home game of the season and routed rival Casa Roble, 63-21.
Before the opening kickoff, public address announcer Bob Burge told the crowd that the Placer High administration wanted to thank everybody for their concern of the injured students.
“The students are doing fine,” Burge added.
The news was followed by a large round of applause.
Coach Joey Montoya said the tragic accident motivated his team.
“We wanted to play for the kid and his family; all the kids and their families and all the Placer people and the Auburn community,” Montoya said, referring to Andrew Carducci, a Hillmen soccer player who was life-flighted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center after the incident.
“It puts things into perspective of what’s really important. What’s really important is family and relationships.”
The Hillmen sure seemed motivated from the get-go, scoring 43 unanswered points before Casa Roble (1-3) finally found the end zone in the third quarter.
Fullback Michael Robinson had three touchdowns — all in the first quarter — and backup fullback Cameron Scott ran for 213 yards and three scores, as the Hillmen (3-0) snapped a two-game losing streak to Casa Roble.
Placer built a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and led 36-0 at half after two Todd Vallerie touchdowns.
“It’s nice when we get a lead like that,” Robinson said. “We can put in our second team, everybody gets playing time and everybody gets better.”
Isaiah Pineiro had two interceptions and Casey Yunk capitalized on a pick-six for the Hillmen. Eddie Vanderdoes, Wyatt Decker and Stone Sander had sacks.
For Placer seniors, like Pineiro and Robinson, it was nice to finally beat the Casa Roble varsity team.
“I wanted redemption from last year,” Pineiro said. “All week at practice, we practiced hard and we were focused. We worked on the little things like eye discipline.”
Added Robinson: “We’re rivals … everybody was pretty pumped up for this game, looking for revenge.”
The win, however, didn’t change the course of the day’s events.
“I don’t think you can ever ease something like this until you know everybody is going to be OK,” Montoya said of the I-80 spill. “It puts things into perspective.”
Reach Matthew Kimel at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel for live updates from future games