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Red-hot Hillmen hit the road

Prep Football Primer
By: Journal Sports Staff
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It’s tough to get an accurate account of the team Placer High will face tonight in Placerville. Union Mine and Ponderosa crushed El Dorado in its first two games of the season. The Cougars then reeled off wins over Golden Sierra and Encina, piling up 88 points in the last two weeks. Placer coach Joey Montoya knows one thing for sure — El Dorado senior Chris Haskins is a talented tailback. He is averaging over 157 yards per game and has nine touchdowns on the season. Jeremy Darr, a 230-pound junior, is also dangerous with the ball. He racked up 220 rushing yards in the Cougars’ 41-14 win over Golden Sierra. The good news for the Hillmen is they’ve managed to corral opposing runners well this season. Placer (4-0) has used a bend-but-don’t break policy against the run, giving up some big yardage, but getting stingy when it counts. The Hillmen are strong up front and getting stronger. Senior Conner McKenzie has a team-high 34 tackles on the season — a huge number for a defensive lineman. Senior Jake Turney is rounding into form after being slowed by an abdominal injury early in the year and Michael Gray is constantly putting pressure on opposing backfields. Art Gayduchick is also playing well up front. The Hillmen have yet to be slowed on offense this season. Senior Asher Gotzmer is averaging better than 10 yards per carry and has 638 yards rushing on the season. He’s scored 10 touchdowns on the ground and another via the pass. Placer senior Dalton Dyer missed last week’s win over Mesa Verde with an ankle injury, but is expected to be back on the field tonight. Whitney (2-2) at Colfax (3-1) Colfax hasn’t had much time to rest up for the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champions. Still, with their confidence soaring after Monday’s thrilling 31-30 road win over Bear River, the Falcons will undoubtedly be primed for the Wildcats, whose PVL title hopes have already taken a hit after last week’s loss to Lincoln. Each team has a pair of individuals capable of rushing for more than 100 yards. Colfax running backs Pat Rawlins and Josh Moreno combined for 266 yards and four touchdowns Monday night. Whitney quarterback Jake Rodrigues and running back Shawn Azam are each averaging more than 100 rushing yards on the ground. On the other side of the ball, senior linebacker Tommy Baldoni is averaging 10.5 tackles a game for the Falcons. Connor Riordan and Jake Feuerbach are each averaging more than 10 tackles per game for the Wildcats. Vintage (0-4) at Del Oro (4-0) The unbeaten Golden Eagles face one last non-league test before opening Sierra Foothill League play next week. Of course, considering that the Crushers have yielded an average of 35 points a game, it’s doubtful that Del Oro will be tested much — especially with junior running back Bryce Pratt averaging 203.3 rushing yards and 3.5 touchdowns a game. Lest Vintage focus too much energy on stopping Pratt, junior quarterback Max Magleby has completed 72.5 percent of his passes for Del Oro. A showdown with undefeated Granite Bay looms on Oct. 16 in Loomis. Lindhurst (0-4) at Bear River (2-2) The Bruins’ defense, which has had trouble keeping opponents off the scoreboard due to its tendency to give up big running plays, should get a chance to build up its confidence this week against the winless Blazers. Lindhurst averaged just 8.5 points a game, and the Blazers’ most prolific rusher, senior Angel Vega, has racked up just 283 yards in four games — fewer than the single-game rushing totals Bear River allowed against Woodcreek (341) and Colfax (320). Lindhurst, likewise, has had its share of defensive struggles, yielding an average of 31.5 points a game. Valley Christian (1-3) at Foresthill (3-1) The Wildfires have certainly been hot the past few weeks, winning three straight games. With the 1-3 Lions coming to town for tonight’s Sacramento Metro League opener, Foresthill could make it four. Senior quarterback Dave Whitsett and running backs Tommy Young and Colton Rhone have each rushed for nearly the same amount of yardage for Foresthill — 194, 191 and 196, respectively. Linebacker Jake Henry and defensive back Matt Furness, both seniors, are each averaging double figures in tackles. Golden Sierra (0-4) at Highlands (2-2) The Grizzlies have allowed a whopping 39.5 points a game, giving up an average of 43.3 points over their last three contests.