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Placer: Let's have another

Hillmen get another home game after thrashing Foothill
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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The good news started flowing when Placer High won the coin toss Friday night at LeFebvre Stadium. It didn’t stop until well after the final whistle of the Hillmen’s 57-20 romp over Foothill in their Sac-Joaquin Section playoff opener. The Hillmen catapulted to a 14-0 lead before the Mustangs even touched the ball. Third-seeded Placer dominated throughout and then got a cherry on top of its sundae after the game. As players and fans lingered on the field, Placer public address announcer Bob Burge provided updates from Dixon, where Calaveras stunned the No. 2 seed 18-14. The upset means Placer (10-1) will host Calaveras (7-4) in the second round of the Division IV playoffs on Friday. "This hasn’t happened in over 20 years, so to have two playoff games at home, that’s awesome," Placer senior Jake Styler said. The Mustangs looked the part with their imposing size, including 220-pound running back Shavonce Raiford. But Placer had its way on both sides of the ball, building a 43-0 halftime lead. “We were hoping we could power up on them and get some downhill running, especially on a field that we didn’t think was going to be in very good condition,” Foothill coach Allen Berg said. “But they manned up and dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Obviously that didn’t go the way we wanted it to.” Junior Collin Burnett passed for 225 first-half yards while Asher Gotzmer and Josh Turney scored three touchdowns apiece to pace Placer. Turney finished with a game-high 120 rushing yards as the Hillmen could do no wrong offensively. They did not have to punt and a second-half fumble with the second string in was their only mishap of the evening. “We knew they were solid all the way around and they proved it tonight,” Berg said. On their first drive, the Hillmen went 65 yards in six plays as Josh Turney cashed in with a 2-yard TD run. Cameron Southward then dribbled an onside kick and pounced on it himself. One play later, Southtward hauled in a 51-yard TD pass from Burnett. "We had that in the gameplan at the start of the week after watching film on them," Placer coach Joey Montoya said. "We knew if we could jump on them early, that would force them out of their game plan." Gotzmer added a 46-yard TD run after a Foothill three-and-out. The Mustangs’ only scoring opportunity came late in the first quarter when they missed badly on a 31-yard field goal attempt. The Hillmen answered with a Turney 10-yard TD run. Junior Evan Staton improvised on the extra-point attempt, throwing to Brett Lenz for a nifty two-point conversion. Many of the Placer seniors were part of the squad that stunned powerful Oakdale on the road to open the playoffs last season – a win that signaled Placer’s return to prominence on the gridiron. The Hillmen made this year’s playoff debut look easy. “I expected it to be a good game,” senior Jake Turney said. “They looked really good on film. We just played Hillmen football — we went 150 percent the whole way. It was great to see everyone get in and just be able to cheer them on.” The Hillmen will host the Redskins Friday at 7 p.m. Calaveras finished second in the Mother Lode League and has won five of six games after starting the season 2-3, including a 9-0 loss to Bear River.