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Trojans hold on for 34-32 win over Del Oro

By: Matt Long of the Telegraph
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Friday night in Loomis, Oak Ridge moved one game closer to a showdown with Folsom High with the Sierra Foothill League title likely at stake, while Del Oro lost on its home turf for the second time in three weeks, as the Trojans defeated the Golden Eagles, 34-32.

On fourth-and-eight from the Del Oro 25-yard line with 2:37 to play, Oak Ridge quarterback Marco Baldacchino threw the game-winning touchdown pass down the middle of the field to Kyle Brown and the extra-point put the Trojans up 34-25. Del Oro tacked on one more score on a Stone Smartt one-yard touchdown run, but Austin Eastman recovered the onside kick and Oak Ridge ran out the clock for the two-point win in a game it led 21-0 after the first quarter.

“It was awesome to make that catch,” Brown said. “We put that play in this week and we practiced it all week long. We ran it three times this game and it worked every time. Truman (Andrus) caught it the first two times and I caught it once and it just happened to be for a touchdown.”

Brown had to leap high for the ball, but came down with it.

“Coach Cooper has been saying all week just focus on the cross of the ball and I went up for it and that’s what I did,” Brown said.

Del Oro made a valiant comeback after being down three touchdowns after one quarter, but never tasted the lead.

“Obviously, we got down by 21 and that didn’t help the cause,” Del Oro Coach Casey Taylor said. “We just couldn’t get anything going; we didn’t make any plays. But we got back in it, and played a great third quarter. Our defense made some stops, but we just didn’t make enough.

“I’m proud that we got back in it. It was a great game between two great teams.”

While Del Oro didn’t make any plays early, Oak Ridge did. On the team’s fourth play of its opening drive after the defense held the Golden Eagles to a punt after reaching the Trojan 34-yard line, Baldacchino threw an out pass to Cameron Stone, who was left uncovered and Stone took it 74 yards for a touchdown.

After a three-and-out by Del Oro, Oak Ridge’s offense drove 68 yards, capped off by a seven-yard run by Baldacchino to go up by 14.

After another three-and-out by the Del Oro offense, with a big sack coming from Parker Blomquist on third down, Oak Ridge needed only two plays before Baldacchino found Justin Poerio for a 38-yard touchdown pass.

Del Oro started its comeback with a six-yard touchdown run from Camrion Davis and a pass from Mason Hurst to Noah Kravich for two points made it 21-8. Later in the quarter, Conor Calvert connected on a 26-yard field goal to make it 21-11 at halftime.

The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter; as Del Oro came within three points 21-18 after 30-yard touchdown pass from Smartt to Hurst.

Oak Ridge answered immediately on its next drive, finishing it off with a one-yard run by Michael Pittman.

Early in the fourth quarter, Dalton Gee scored on a 20-yard run to make it 27-25, setting up Oak Ridge’s game-winning score late in the quarter.

“We had moments where we looked great and we had other moments where we didn’t look so good, but when we needed a play, we got it,” Oak Ridge Coach Eric Cavaliere said. “We found a way to get the win and to win a game against Del Oro on their home turf is a big deal. The 21-0 start was huge, but Del Oro started chipping away and got it close, but we did what we needed to do to get the win.”

Del Oro won the junior varsity game, 38-14.