Hillmen go airborne in Lincoln

Ross throws five touchdown passes to lead Placer past Lincoln
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LINCOLN — Even as rain poured down Friday night in Lincoln, the Placer High football team found some friendly skies in its first official Pioneer Valley League victory. After relying on the ground game for much of its success all season, the Hillmen broke out with a huge passing night in a 48-30 win over the Zebras. Senior Matt Ross threw for 288 yards and five touchdowns. Jordan Arndt and Josh Klem each made incredible touchdown catches and Placer kept its playoff hopes alive, but it wasn’t easy. Placer led 34-7 after a stunning 27-yard, over-the-shoulder TD catch by Arndt late in the second quarter. But Lincoln rallied. The Zebras got as close as 41-30 after Matthew Holt’s 63-yard touchdown run on a fake punt in the third quarter. The Hillmen slammed the door in the fourth quarter. “No matter how much we preached not to let down, unfortunately we had a letdown,” Placer coach Joey Montoya said. “We were up 34-7 and I think we relaxed a little bit. Give Lincoln credit. They kept fighting.” Arndt caught three TD passes on the night and had five catches for 148 yards. Klem, who had been quiet offensively for the past two games, had two TD receptions and another 24-yard catch. “The passing game was a total team effort,” said Klem, a 6-2, 195-pound tight end. “The line did a great job, the receivers caught the ball and Matt (Ross) made some great throws.” Ross was an efficient 10-for-13 passing. He hit Asher Gotzmer with a 68-yard bomb on Placer’s first offensive play. Gotzmer lead the rushing attack with 78 yards on eight carries. Jake Lopez added 67 yards and two touchdowns. Lincoln scored with five seconds to go in the first half and carried the momentum into the third quarter. Senior QB Tyler Freymond scored on a 9-yard scamper on fourth down on Lincoln’s first drive of the second half. “I think we meshed as a team and we just had fun,” Freymond said. “That’s the main thing as a senior in these last games is to go out and have fun.” Lincoln’s Wing-T attack managed 276 rushing yards, but Placer’s secondary led the defense. Kyle Hennen and Dalton Dyer had key second-half interceptions. Freymond had 119 passing yards, but was just 9-for-21 passing. Placer remains in contention for a playoff berth despite being forced to forfeit two PVL wins after it was judged on Oct. 23 that the school filed improper paperwork for a transfer player. The Hillmen need to beat Colfax on the road Friday and Whitney at home on Nov. 14 to have a shot. El Dorado must also lose at least one of its remaining games against Mesa Verde and Bear River. Junior varsity Placer 21, Lincoln 14 – The Hillmen stunned the previously unbeaten Zebras to improve to 4-0 in the PVL and 7-1 overall. Zach Scott had a big tackle for loss and a sack to end Lincoln’s final drive while Josh Turney, Darren Centi and Cameron Hennen all scored touchdowns for Placer. Caleb Mitchell added a key interception and Turney came up with a big punt return to spark the Hillmen. “This win was all about defense and special teams,” Placer coach Rick Foley said.