Placer to play for section football title on Friday

Rocklin, Del Oro to battle for DII crown
By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Three local football teams will play for Sac-Joaquin Section titles on Friday night. Placer (12-1), a rival of Lincoln’s from the Pioneer Valley League, will play Modesto Christian for the Division IV title at 7 p.m. at Lincoln High of Stockton. Placer beat Sonora 15-14 on Friday night to advance to the title game. Sonora knocked off Whitney (20-7) and Lincoln (36-20) earlier in the playoffs. Lincoln beat Placer 13-6 in PVL play on Oct. 30. The other two local teams, Rocklin (13-0) and Del Oro (11-2), will play for the DII title at 8 p.m. at UC Davis. Rocklin beat Del Oro 24-21 in Rocklin during Sierra Foothill League play this season. The teams also met for the DII title in 2005 with the Golden Eagles winning 18-15. Rocklin led 15-0 at halftime of that game, played at Folsom High. “It is almost fitting that we play against Del Oro,” said Rocklin coach Greg Benzel, who certainly remembers that 2005 game very well. “We have a history together in the SFL and both teams will be ready to play.” Both teams advanced to the DII title game after crazy victories at Folsom High over the weekend. Del Oro beat Folsom 43-42 after trailing 35-7 at the half while Rocklin topped previously undefeated Grant 21-19, putting together a goal-line stand in the final minute. Both Folsom and Grant missed potential game-winning field goals, from very short distances, on the game’s final play. There is a good chance that the winner of Friday’s game will represent Northern California in a Division II bowl game on Dec. 19 at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Grant, the defending state champion, came into the Rocklin game ranked No. 8 in the country by but the Thunder didn’t appear to be intimidated. “We came in confident – we knew we were a great team,” Rocklin senior running back Jackson Cummings said. “Take nothing away from Grant – they are a great team. But we came in confident.” “I’m just so proud of our kids – they have been super all year,” Rocklin athletic director David Bills said. “You know the odds are against you (during Grant’s last drive). I didn’t see any fear (in the Thunder players) all night.” Benzel says it is possible that linebacker Daniel Lessard, Rocklin’s defensive captain and the defensive MVP of the Sierra Foothill League, will play on Friday night. Lessard sat out the Grant game with a knee injury.