Deja vu for Del Oro in Folsom

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTES: Twice this season the Golden Eagles have pulled off second-half offensive heroics on Bulldogs’ field
By: Eric J. Gourley and Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Writers
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On the same field at Folsom High’s Prairie City Stadium where it rallied to knock off California High of San Ramon in its season opener, the Del Oro football team mounted an even more impressive comeback Friday night. The Golden Eagles scored four second-half touchdowns after a scoreless first half to beat the Grizzlies in the Battle at the Capital nightcap in early September. On Friday, it took Del Oro five second-half scores, some lockdown defense, two flawlessly-executed onside kicks, another monster ground game from Bryce Pratt and a tipped field goal that clanged off the crossbar as time expired in one of the most thrilling finishes in Sac-Joaquin Section playoff history. qqq Pratt’s ankle flared up again during the Eagles’ second straight one-point postseason win, but it didn’t stop the senior tailback from having a career night. Pratt carried 39 times for a career-high 327 yards, coming very close to the season-high 43 carries he had at Prairie City Stadium in September. The ankle, which has forced him to sit out for short periods all season, was injured in a scrimmage on Aug. 28 and hasn’t had time to heal between Pratt’s workhorse weeks. qqq Much more than a section title will be at stake when No. 8 Del Oro (11-2) faces No. 2 Rocklin (13-0) Friday night at UC Davis in the Division II section championship. The winner of the rematch is a virtual lock to represent the North in the California Interscholastic Federation Division II bowl game on Dec. 19 at the Home Depot Center in Carson. The Thunder edged the Eagles 24-21 in Rocklin on Nov. 6, clinching the program’s first outright Sierra Foothill League crown. qqq The longstanding rivalry between Placer High and Del Oro may not have the on-field intensity it once did. However, the two schools are certainly making football fans long for a showdown between the two Foothills neighbors. Unless coaches Joey Montoya and Casey Taylor agree to arrange a pickup game (how about over Christmas break?), we’ll have to settle for their respective Sac-Joaquin Section title games on Friday. Del Oro owns six section title banners. Placer has five and hasn’t hung a new one since 1981. qqq Placer is the only team standing in the way of Modesto Christian’s quest to play in the CIF’s small-school state bowl game on Dec. 18 in Carson. The Crusaders (13-0) are the top-ranked team in the small-school division in Northern California, but only section champions are eligible for bowl-game bids. Placer would also be eligible for the Division II state bowl game with a win in the title game. But the Hillmen have some stiff competition for the bowl bid. The Division II section champ — Rocklin or Del Oro — would appear to have the inside track for the bowl game, though undefeated Inderkum would have a very strong case if it can get past Del Campo in the Division III title game. If Rocklin and Inderkum were to each win their respective section titles, it’s possible Rocklin could get the “Open” division bowl bid and the Tigers could claim the Division II bid. qqq The wing-T offense seems to be popping up more and more these days, especially in the Sac-Joaquin Section. And why wouldn’t it? There’s no denying the success of wing-T squads in the postseason. Nevada Union boss Dave Humphers has his Miners back in the Division I title game. Inderkum has been dominant in Division III and in Division IV, title bidders Modesto Christian and Placer both thrive in the wing-T. qqq Modesto Christian’s win over Central Catholic was the biggest win in the history of the school. The Raiders have dominated the lower divisions for most of the past two decades, but the Crusaders used their remarkable team speed and talented secondary to beat their crosstown rivals. Quarterback Isaiah Burse put up awesome numbers for MC. He rushed for 258 yards and a touchdown and passed for 158 and three touchdowns. Playing defensive back, Burse had an interception.