Hillmen too much for Eagles to handle on opening nightBy: Nick Pecoraro
The scoreboard at Sheldon Pleasant Grove Community Stadium was not in service for the 2018 season-opener between the Placer Hillmen and the Pleasant Grove Eagles.
Had it been working, the Hillmen may have broken it anyway with how much they were scoring in the first half Friday night.
Placer, a team that reached the CIF Division 4-AA state championship game a year ago, looked all of the part as they picked apart Pleasant Grove, 48-21, to move to 1-0 on the season.
“I’m happy we got the win, but we’ve still got some things to fix,” said Placer head coach Joey Montoya.
The Eagles threw the first punch, which came in the form of a sack-fumble on a blitz, leading to a 15-yard airstrike from Pleasant Grove. The Hillmen responded instantly by playing their brand of football: hit hard, eat up clock and run the ball down the throat of the defense.
Fullback Hans Grassman rushed for three touchdowns in the first half, all from within the 10-yard line, and Marshall Chapman rushed 11 times for over 160 yards.
“We knew we had some workhorses coming back,” said Montoya. “All of our offensive linemen are back. That group was cohesive tonight, and it was fun to watch."
Grassman scored on consecutive drives to put the Hillmen in front, 13-7, after the first quarter. Chapman twice extended the Placer lead with a pair of rushing scores. His six-yarder put the Hillmen up by 13 in the second quarter, and then he busted out for a 52-yard house call in Placer’s opening drive of the second half.
“They scored first, but we came back, and we gassed on them,” said Chapman.
Quarterback Michael Stuck was 8-of-9 passing for 160 yards with his lone touchdown pass going 48 yards to Brad Bishop in the second quarter.
“All cylinders were clicking tonight,” said Bishop, who added a 25-yard score on the ground, which gave Placer a 41-7 cushion at the halftime buzzer. “We’re going to be able to run teams over with our power offense.”
Bishop also had an early interception, and Andrew Garza recovered a fumble midway through the second quarter as the Hillmen defense allowed just seven points before halftime.
“We’re a very nasty and physical defense,” said Garza. “I think we have a long ways to go with assignments, but I think it’s a great start, and we have a lot of momentum.”
The Hillmen (1-0) now prepare for Week 2’s home-opener at LeFebvre Stadium, when they welcome the Whitney Wildcats.
Placer 31, Pleasant Grove 28
The Placer JV team erased a 28-7 deficit in the second half, scoring 24 unanswered points en route to a 31-28 victory over Pleasant Grove.
The Hillmen found themselves in a big hole after big defensive plays from the Eagles, including a punt-block touchdown. Placer responded as AJ Ferreira wrapped two touchdown runs around a 59-yard scamper by Zavery Guerra.
Placer’s defense came through late in the fourth quarter with a fumble recovery with 1:08 left in the game to seal the victory.
Placer 51, Pleasant Grove 13