What to look forward to in prep football this week

By: Mike Ray
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In an era of two-year contracts between high schools to construct football schedules, it’s almost unheard of for a team to go a calendar month not having to play an away game.


Well, if you’re the Placer football team, the old slogan “there’s no place like home” becomes the Hillmen’s rallying cry for the rest of August and the entire month of September.


In a quirk in their schedule that doesn’t come along very often, the Hillmen will begin a five-game – count them, five games – homestand Friday when Placer hosts Whitney at 7:30 p.m. at LeFebvre Stadium.


“It is unusual,” said Placer coach Joey Montoya. “But we lost the Aptos game, which would have been an away game and picked up (Bishop) Manogue for one year and it’s at home. Overall, it worked out well.”


In other area games this weekend, Bear River returns home and will host El Dorado, Foresthill entertains Esparto, Colfax heads to play Woodland at Pioneer High and in another neutral field test, Del Oro plays a Friday afternoon Honor Bowl game against Oak Grove of San Jose at St. Francis High in Mountain View.


Here’s a look at this week’s games:


Whitney at Placer, 7:30 p.m.-- The Hillmen will put away their road white uniforms until October as they kick off a five-game LeFevbre Stadium homestand against the Wildcats, who will be debuting under new coach Zac McNally, who comes to the Rocklin school from James Logan in the Bay Area.


“They’re a Division II Sierra Foothill League team, and that’s how we’re treating it,” said Montoya. “They scrimmaged both De La Salle and Jesuit, and on film they held their own.”


Whitney returns quarterback Robert Jones (1,132 yards, 12 TDs) and running back Sergio Sanchez (502 yards, two TDs). On defense, 5-foot-10, 190-pound linebacker Zach Chaffin returns after totaling 50 tackles and an interception in 2017. This will be the first meeting between Placer and Whitney since 2009. Whitney leads in the all-time series, 3-2.



Colfax (1-0) vs. Woodland (0-1), Pioneer High School, 7:30 p.m. – The Wolves, who reached the CIF D-IV semifinal last season against Placer, lost their season-opener last Friday to River Valley, 48-2, but Colfax coach Tony Martello noted that this is no time for the Falcons to let their guard down.


“They have a new coach and are putting in a new system,” said Martello. “I thought they actually outplayed River Valley in the first half.”


Woodland running back Daniel Cassas and quarterback Wyatt Grisso helped lead the Wolves inside River Valley’s red zone four times in the first half, but each time Woodland came away empty-handed.


“I think our youth showed itself when we didn’t capitalize down there,” Woodland coach Javier Marin told the Woodland Daily Democrat following the game.


This is the first time the Falcons have played the Wolves since 2013. Colfax leads the all-time series, 2-0.


El Dorado (0-1) at Bear River (1-0), 7:30 p.m. – After weathering a long trek to South Tahoe and coming away with an impressive opening win, the Bruins will make their Dave Ramsey Stadium debut hosting the Cougars.


El Dorado is under the watch of new head coach Bruce Pielstick, a former offensive coordinator at Sacramento State. In last week’s 33-0 loss to Argonaut, the Cougars threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.


Cougars quarterback Danny Bell (6-foot-5, 200 pounds), who last season as a sophomore threw for 2,412 yards and 22 touchdowns, was limited to just a 14-of-28 night for 135 yards against Argonaut.


“Argonuat did a good job of putting pressure on Bell,” said Bear River co-coach Terry Logue. “Hopefully we can do the same.”


Esparto (0-0) at Foresthill (1-0), 7 p.m. – After earning a hard fought road win at Turlock Christian, Foresthill coach Steve Collier put his attention this week towards invading Esparto, a CIF North Section team playing its season-opener.


“They have a 205-pound running back that we’re putting our focus on this week,” said Collier about Esparto standout Marcus Corona, who rushed for 1,211 yards and scored eight touchdowns a year ago.


In final statistics from the win over Turlock Christian, Collier noted that quarterback Kaiden Pennington threw for 203 yards and one touchdown along with running for a pair of scores. Running back Brody Johnston-Siefker led all ground-gainers with 102 yards on 19 carries and a score.


Del Oro (1-0)  vs. Oak Grove (0-0) 4 p.m. at St. Francis High Mountain View – Del Oro has competed in a Honor Bowl game every season since 2012. This year, the Golden Eagles will be part of an eight-game showcase that will be played in three different states.

Oak Grove is a perennial CIF Central Coast Section power. Del Oro is coming off an impressive 49-27 win on the road at Amador Valley last week. Senior quarterback Carson Jarratt was on target tossing five first-half scoring passes -- four to Dawson Hurst.