Whitney battered, but still dangerous

Prep Football Primer
By: Journal Sports Staff
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There isn’t a title on the line tonight in Rocklin, but for many of Placer High’s football players, there’s something equally valuable. The Hillmen hope to restore some pride against a Whitney team that had its way against the green and gold last season. The Wildcats are again formidable in 2009, posting a 7-2 record despite numerous injuries to key players, including sophomore quarterback Jake Rodrigues. Kyle Dilorenzo has stepped in and sparked Whitney to five straight victories after its loss to Lincoln to open Pioneer Valley League play. Running backs Shawn Azam and Isaiah Moore lead a balanced rushing attack that has amassed 2,500 yards. The Wildcats know they are in for a serious test against a hungry Placer squad. “Placer is a good team,” Dilorenzo said after the Wildcats victory over Golden Sierra last week. “Hopefully we have our best game of the season, because this is our Super Bowl.” Placer is 8-1 overall and looking to lock up the No. 2 seed from the Pioneer Valley League. The Hillmen appear destined for the Division IV-A playoff bracket, where they would likely earn at least one home game with a victory over Whitney. The Hillmen have rushed for more than 2,700 yards as a team, led by senior Asher Gotzmer, who is averaging 129.6 yards per game. The Placer defense has been opportunistic. The Hillmen have forced 22 turnovers, including five interceptions each by Josh Klem and Cameron Southward. “We have to try and slow them down,” Whitney coach Mike Gimenez said. “They’ve been scoring a ton of points. We definitely can’t turn the ball over and we need to play solid on defense. We really need to try and create some big plays.” Del Oro (7-2) at Oakmont (5-4) The Golden Eagles are in need of a victory as they tune up for what promises to be a fiercely competitive Division II playoff field. Del Oro has suddenly lost two games in a row, falling to Woodcreek and Rocklin in tight games each of the last two weeks. Turnovers have hurt the Eagles in recent weeks. They have now turned the ball over 10 times on the season and have forced 10 turnovers. Bryce Pratt continues to put up monster numbers for Del Oro. He’s rushed for 1,603 yards and 26 touchdowns on the season. Oakmont (1-3 SFL)is led by standout quarterback Alex Ford and 6-3 wide receiver Fred Mobley. Lincoln (9-0) at Colfax (6-3) The Zebras are looking to cap a perfect regular season while the Falcons are campaigning for a playoff bid. Colfax looked very strong in a 34-27 loss at Placer last week as senior Pat Rawlins racked up 188 rushing yards. Lincoln battled past Bear River last week as quarterback Alex Stewart and tailback Moses Stanley came up big. The Falcons (3-2 PVL)have gotten great defensive play from linebacker Tommy Baldoni and defensive lineman Kyle Pierce. Bear River (4-5) at El Dorado (2-7) The Bruins can put themselves in the playoff discussion with a victory on the road. They would have the necessary two league wins to be eligible and an excellent strength of schedule rating would bode well for Bear River. The Bruins fell to Lincoln last week after leading the Zebras in the fourth quarter. Cristo Rey (1-7) at Foresthill (5-4) The Wildfires’ playoff chances are slim, but they have a chance to clinch back-to-back winning seasons in the non-league season finale. Foresthill needs Valley Christian to knock off Vacaville Christian to lock up a playoff berth, which would be a first for the school. Capital Christian (6-3) at Golden Sierra (3-6) The Cougars (5-0 Golden Empire League) have already clinched a league championship, but they’ll be looking to bolster their playoff position in the regular season finale. The Grizzlies are hoping to finish strong after winning two of their last three games.