In the worst of times, it’s still great to be a Hillman

Montoya says Placer seniors 'are going to do big things in life'
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Despite a much-too-soon season-ending 27-26 loss to Escalon Friday night in Auburn in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV playoffs, the 2012 Placer Hillmen were able to reflect on their season and draw more positive memories than negative ones. 
“It was great playing with all my brothers,” said Isaac Brahce, who ran for nearly 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year. “We’re such a tight-nit group. There are tons of memories I’ll never forget.”
The Hillmen went 5-0 in both their preseason and Pioneer Valley League slates before routing Hilmar 59-3 in their playoff opener.
“Winning the PVL, going 11-1, that’s awesome,” said linebacker Tony Suverkropp, who led the team in tackles. “Not many teams can do what we were accomplishing. It sucks it has to end now. But this was a great group of guys. I’d never want to play with anyone else.”
While some will go on to play college football — Eddie Vanderdoes, Stone Sander, Peter Denham — other Hillmen likely played their last football game at rain-soaked LeFebvre Stadium Friday night. 
“It’s rough,” Brahce said. “It’s a weird feeling. I don’t think it completely hit me yet. It’s weird thinking it’s my last game on this field. I’m not looking forward to when it all hits me.”
Though three-year varsity fullback Michael Robinson and Brahce will be graduating, the Hillmen figure to have another strong Wing-T ground game next year if Logan Markstein, Todd Valliere and Cameron Scott all return.
But the team was expecting to continue practicing Monday in hopes of winning a section title.
“It always hurts to put the pads away,” said Isaiah Pineiro, who had a team-high nine interceptions on the year.
“It’s awful,” Suverkropp said. 
While the Hillmen didn’t achieve their ultimate goal of winning a section title, Placer coach Joey Montoya knows his seniors have a bright future ahead of them.
“They have a lot to be proud of,” Montoya said. “They went 11-1 and won the PVL championship. Those kids are going to do big things in life. It’s a special senior class.” 
Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel