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PREVIEW: Del Oro vs. Rocklin (CA)

October 31, 2012

A playoff berth is on the line when the Del Oro Golden Eagles take on the Rocklin Thunder this Friday night in Loomis, California. The game is a rematch of the 2009 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Title Game, a game that Rocklin won. The winner will clinch a playoff berth along with Granite Bay. The top 2 teams in every division in the CIF-SJS will move on to the playoffs. Del Oro and Rocklin are tied in 2nd in the Sierra Foothill League, now Division 1, entering the last game of the season. Del Oro defeated the Thunder 37-7 last season in route to claiming their 2nd consecutive league and section titles. The win helped the Golden Eagles snap a 3-game losing streak in the series, a series that Del Oro leads 11-3.

The Del Oro Golden Eagles capped off an amazing 14-2 2011 season with their 2nd straight CIF Sac-Joaquin Title, their 8th overall. The Golden Eagles went on to lose in the Division-II State Championship to Helix, but it would not dampen the success the team had in their most successful season in Del Oro football history. This season, Del Oro began the year with 4 straight losses to state ranked teams. Since then, they Eagles have gone 4-1. Junior Zach LaBar as emerged as the starting quarterback. He has thrown for over 900 yards and 8 touchdowns this season. He has been feeding the ball to the San Jose State-bound Brandon Monroe in the backfield. Monroe rushed for over 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns last season in split-back duties. He has 4 touchdowns this season to go with over 600 yards rushing. Lining up outside will be juniors Danny Becker and Tyler Meteer at the receiver positions. Both lines with be anchored by juniors Tanner Woods, Elias Campos and Brandon Johnson. Meteer and junior Dylan Kainrath will lead the linebacking unit, while seniors Cody Otten and Troy Kline patrol the secondary at the cornerback positions. The Golden Eagles will need a win to make sure they do not miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

The Rocklin Thunder have rebounded nicely from a 3-7 season a year ago. The Thunder are 5-4 overall, but are 3-1 in the Sierra Foothill League. Rocklin lost just about half of their starters from last year’s team but have had some young players step up in big places this season. Senior Daniel Kniffin started the season as quarterback. In the 2nd game of the season, Kniffin went down with a shoulder injury late in the game as he was trying to rally his team. Enter junior Logan Webb. To say that Webb has filled in adequately would be an understatement. In their last 3 games in the SFL, Webb has thrown for just under 1000 yards. What’s even more impressive is he has thrown for 4 touchdowns in each game. Now that Kniffin is back from his injury, he has filled in as a wide receiver. In the last 2 games, Kniffin has caught 3 touchdown passes to go with his 200+ yards receiving. 3 others seniors line up as wide receivers with Kniffin. Dom Giampaoli, Spencer Gregg and Cory Burmester have combined to haul in 21 touchdown passes. Senior Raymon Kendall leads the rushing attack for the Thunder. Senior Sam Woods in the only returning starter on both lines. Gregg and Giampaoli will also play defensive back on top of their receiving duties. A win Friday would allow the Thunder to avoid missing the playoffs for a 2nd straight year.

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