Media Life: Vanderdoes shows heart still belongs to Placer

Raiders tackle already high school’s most successful NFLer
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Oakland Raiders’ defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes’ Placer High connection was front row and center again during player introductions on the recent “Sunday Night Football” telecast of the black-and-silver’s victory over the Miami Dolphins.

“Sunday Night Football” telecasts give players on both sides of the football a chance to state their name and school during the first few minutes of the game.

Players typically just state their name and the university they attended before going pro.

Vanderdoes, who played at UCLA before being drafted this year by the Raiders, wasn’t required to state that post-secondary connection with the SoCal school and instead cited “Placer High.”

He’s not alone. In fact, several players over the years since the tradition of player introductions started in 2000 have used their brief appearance on national TV to show their individuality.

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, for instance, named “Duke and Donna University” as his school. Turns out “Duke and Donna” are the first names of his parents.

Jared Allen, a Minnesota Vikings defensive end and Idaho State product, used the player intro spot to show off an impish sense of humor, naming his school as “culinary academy” on one occasion and “home schooled” on another.

Some players even mention their middle or elementary schools.

With the introduction by Vanderdoes recorded before the Sept. 24 “Monday Night Football” game between the Raiders and Washington Redskins, it was used again for the Miami game on Nov. 5.

A nice gesture to Vanderdoes’ hometown by a proud alum whose community is equally as proud of “Number 94.”

Now if the website could only get the high school right. Instead of “Placer High School,” the site states Vanderdoes is a “Pacer High School, Auburn” graduate.

Vanderdoes, by the way, didn’t take long to become Placer High School’s most successful NFL player. His nine starts in the first nine games of his rookie season bests the five NFL starts that Placer grad Gary Anderson, Class of 1973, made between 1977 and 1980. Anderson had stints with the Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins.

High school heroics

Vanderdoes appears to be on his way to a place in the Hall of Fame Placer High School division that is.

In the meantime, the Placer Hall of Fame committee is getting set to make some hard choices in the next month or so on who next will be enshrined in the pantheon this year.

Rad McCord, a committee member and hall inductee for his stellar tennis and ski team coaching, said he’s hoping a callout to Media Life readers will result in more light being shone on the accomplishments of three athletes and a coach from many semesters ago.

One of the grads that the committee wants more information on is Jerry Lopes, Class of 1936. Lopes was the California state champion in the half-mile run the year he graduated.

1910 graduate Effa Lardner is another athlete the hall would like to know more about. She was a sparkplug of the 1908 Placer High team that won the Sacramento Valley Interscholastic Athletic League title and personally outscored the opposition in some games.

McCord said that any information on 1950s rifle team coach Frank Bonito and champion wrestler Steve Stratton, Class of 1970, would also help the committee with its deliberations. Several other nominees are being considered, who the committee already has sufficient background on, he said. McCord can be reached at 530-368-2473.

Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or 530-852-0232.