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Rival teams spark passionate fans

Del Oro takes the lead from Placer at packed stadium
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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LOOMIS — The Del Oro and Placer High football teams faced off in a serious case of Sierra foothills sibling rivalry Friday night. The Golden Eagles may have earned bragging rights in the 41-12 win and advanced to the next round of Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, but both teams had diehard fans crowding the stands. The nearly 4,000 fans came in mass — faces painted, signs waving and cowbells ringing. As a new generation of players carried on a decades-old rivalry, and celebration of all things small town and football, the fans were equally as invested, cheering their way until the bitter end. “This is a bigger crowd than usual,” said Del Oro vice principal Bridget Farren. Farren said the students were all excited about the rivalry. Placer newspaper and yearbook adviser Dan Wilson graduated from Placer in 1987. Wilson was a football player himself and said he remembers taking the field against Del Oro his junior and senior years. “My junior year we beat Del Oro and my senior year we lost to them,” Wilson said. “And we didn’t beat them again until 14 years later.” In this year’s match-up Wilson was predicting Placer would give Del Oro an upset. Placer did lead the game for the first half. Wilson’s son is a football player at Colfax High, so he was hoping to catch half of each game. Wilson watched the action right from the field, while Placer junior Makayla Mullenix showed her enthusiasm from the stands. Her air horn, signs and glittery face paint were all in support of friends and Placer football players Will Slane and Stone Sander. “I go all out for every game, but it’s Del Oro and I don’t like them,” Mullenix said. “I just love that our school is so close and we all believe in each other. I know all the people in the stands believe in our guys.” Del Oro’s student fan group, the Black Hole, was equally as passionate. Del Oro junior Justyn Strain had his face painted black and the honor of waving a massive Golden Eagles flag before the crowd. He said learning about the history of the long-time rivalry inspired his “fandimonium”. “The first reason is because of the history. It’s been a big rivalry,” Strain said. “Del Oro just has great people. We have just got to hype them up for the game.” Black Hole leader Brett Bacharach has been the No. 1 singles player on the tennis team since his freshman year, but the senior loves pumping up the crowd for other sports. “I think everyone really knew about the rivalry at the rally,” Bacharach said. “We always have great spirit – part of that is what Del Oro is known for. This year we have 10-15 people who are really into it. The main chant is the rollercoaster for me. I’m the only one that really does that.” Bacharach said the Del Oro stands were about as packed as usual, while the visitor’s side had a whole lot more travelers than usual. Bacharach said he knows when it comes to a big game, the players and coaches often depend on the fans to give them a little extra motivation. Those extra cheers may have helped the team get going in the second-half. With its comeback win Del Oro took a 24-12 lead in the overall series between the two schools. “It’s even when the football guys come over and the coaches,” Bacharach said. “You got to get everyone going. That’s my job. Everyone can depend on me to get a chant going.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.