Hillmen handle Whitney at home
The Placer football team made a triumphant 2018 home debut at LeFebvre Stadium Friday night, defeating the Whitney Wildcats, 42-28, and in the process, handed head coach Joey Montoya his 100th career win at the helm of the Hillmen.
“I have not thought much about it,” said Montoya of his latest milestone. “But I’m sure when I go back and reflect on all the players that have played for me and all the coaches I’ve had and all the booster support; obviously, this is a team effort, and I’ve been blessed to have the people I’ve had around me.”
For the second straight week, the Hillmen rode backfield tandem Marshall Chapman and Hans Grassman to victory. Last week, the duo ran for over 250 combined yards and five scores between them. Friday, they ran for even more yards and matched their five touchdowns.
Before the Wildcats’ 2018 debut, first-year head coach Zack McNally prepared his squad for its season-opener against Placer by scrimmaging teams like Jesuit and De La Salle.
“If you want to be high-level, then you have to play high-level teams,” said McNally. “The biggest jump for every team is from Game 1 to Game 2, and we’re just looking to see how these boys respond. We’re gonna see what we’re made of this year playing some really tough teams.”
Just a two-score game before halftime, the Hillmen began running away in the second half. Grassman, who scored three rushing touchdowns last week against Pleasant Grove, found the end zone three more times on roughly 167 yards Friday against Whitney – two scores coming in the second half.
Chapman rushed for about 130 yards and two scores while Brad Bishop added 80 yards on the ground. Quarterback Michael Stuck was just 3-of-8 for 43 yards but managed the game very well.
“We have a good arsenal this year,” said Montoya. “I thought the guys up front, for the second week in a row, did a good job of clearing people out. For a Week 2, I liked what I saw.”
Whitney quarterback Robert Jones completed 16 of 29 passes for 267 yards and two touchdown passes (one each to Jaidon Love-Williams and Dom Spence) while also rushing for 50 yards and a score. Whitney got a rushing touchdown from Sergio Sanchez late in the fourth quarter.
“We’re a work in progress,” said McNally. “(Jones) made a lot of good plays and extended plays really well. I’m looking forward to him continuing to lead this team.”
Placer went into halftime up 28-14. Grassman rumbled in from eight yards out, capping a 12-play, 81-yard drive for the Hillmen to open up the scoring. Whitney responded on the next drive with a 25-yard strike from Jones to Love-Williams to tie the game at seven.
Placer turned to Chapman for the next two drives. Chapman ran for 1- and 10-yard scores over the next two series, giving the Hillmen a 21-7 lead.
Jones took over the next Whitney drive, rushing four times for 32 yards in the possession and finishing with a 4-yard score to bring the Wildcats within one score.
But the Hillmen answered with a 28-yard touchdown run from Bishop after Placer was given an extra play due to a roughing-the-passer call on Whitney. Placer went into the locker room up by 14.
“That’s a good team,” said McNally. “There’s a reason why they went to state, no doubt.”
Placer hosts perennial Nevada state power Bishop Manogue next Friday as Whitney makes its home debut against Central of Fresno.
Whitney 36, Placer 26
Whitney overcame an 18-7 halftime deficit and scored 29 second-half points to the Hillmen’s eight. Running back Curtis Litterer scored two touchdowns for the Wildcats while quarterback Perry Payne connected with Nick Tawney on a pair of scores to lead Whitney to its first win of the season.
Thomas Ricks scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground for Placer, who moves to 1-1 on the season.
Whitney 28, Placer 12