Placer thrashes El Dorado, 42-20

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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PLACERVILLE — The El Dorado High football team kept Placer’s offense off the field for much of the first half Friday night. But it wasn’t exactly the way Cougars’ coach Rick Redding had in mind. Asher Gotzmer and the Hillmen sliced and diced the El Dorado defense on its way to a 42-20 victory, improving to 5-0 on the season. The Placer offense had two one-play touchdown drives and two three-play TD drives in the first half to crush any hopes of a Cougar upset. “What’s not to like about that Placer team?” Redding asked after the game. “I could talk for an hour about all the things they do well. Our kids played harder tonight than they have all season and I’m proud of them for that. For a quarter and a half, it was a close ballgame.” The Cougars’ running game was impressive early. Josh Klem snuffed out a promising opening drive by El Dorado when he intercepted a pass by Merrit Williams deep in Placer territory. After a Gotzmer 79-yard TD run, El Dorado put together a 77-yard touchdown drive to answer, but the Hillmen’s Cameron Southward blocked the extra point kick to preserve Placer’s lead. The Hillmen appeared to be stopped on their next drive. It looked like Burnett had been sacked and fumbled the ball near the El Dorado 30-yard line, but the officials ruled he had thrown an incomplete pass. Redding argued the call and was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, costing the Cougars 15 yards and keeping Placer’s drive alive. “That was a momentum changer,” Redding said. Placer scored two plays later on a five-yard run by Gotzmer, who touched the ball just nine times on offense, but that was plenty as far as the Cougars were concerned. The senior finished with 212 yards and three rushing touchdowns. He added a 77-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Collin Burnett late in the second quarter to put Placer ahead 35-6. “Our coaches had a really good scheme and there were lots of holes to run through,” said Gotzmer, who now has 15 TDs on the season. “Our offensive line did a great job. Shout out to those guys.” Cameron Southward made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch on a bomb from Burnett for a 52-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. El Dorado never mounted much of a challenge in the second half as Placer marched 64 yards to open the third quarter. Josh Turney’s 2-yard TD plunge put the game out of reach and Placer’s second string closed out the victory. Senior Brett Lenz had an excellent game for the Placer defense, which gave up 194 rushing yards to El Dorado senior Chris Haskins, but little else. Perhaps the only downside in the game for Placer was senior Cody Barger going down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter. The defensive back and backup quarterback had to be carried off the field and will have an MRI this week. The Hillmen remain tied for first place with Lincoln in the Pioneer Valley League at 2-0. The Zebras blanked Mesa Verde 40-0 Friday to improve to 5-0 overall. Junior varsity Placer continued to crank out big offensive numbers as it rolled past El Dorado 35-7 to remain undefeated on the season. Jordan Rawls scored one touchdown while Joe Mangino, Colton Davenport and David Daniel added one touchdown each to lead the Hillmen (5-0). Rawls finished with 95 yards on 10 carries as Placer piled up 287 rushing yards and Johnny Foley passed for 114 and a TD to Daniel. Tyler Graves had an excellent defensive game, including an interception in the fourth quarter off a tipped pass by Daniel. Foley was also excellent on the defensive side of the ball along with captain Casey Sabins.