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Tough schedules continue in high school football

Young teams will be tested again Friday night
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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No one can accuse the football coaches in the Sierra Foothill League from scheduling soft opponents in the non-league portion of the schedule. A week after three of the four local SFL teams took it on the chin, all four are back out there with difficult week two matchups staring them in the face. “It’s a heck of a schedule we have there,” said Woodcreek coach John Hildebrand. “If you don’t schedule that way, what’s it going to do for you when you get to the SFL games.” Hildebrand is optimistic after a 23-7 loss to defending Division III section champion Casa Roble as he prepares his team to tackle last year’s D-IV runner-up, Placer. “After reviewing the tape, we realized how close we were (against Casa Roble),” Hildebrand said. “Three plays costs us 17 points and we put ourselves in good positions, but just couldn’t make the big play.” With 18 of his 22 starters coming off their first varsity game, the coach sees his team on its way up as it travels to Auburn to face a team it beat in a classic overtime battle a year ago. “Like us, they got better all year,” Hildebrand said. “We expect to see the disciplined, hard-hitting, fast team that was there at the end of the year last season.” Roseville The Tigers go from the frying pan to the fire after losing to Rio Linda last Friday night. This week, powerful Pleasant Grove comes calling on Larry Cunha’s inexperienced club. “We’re still inconsistent,” Cunha said. “We have moments of good and moments of mistakes. Players will improve as they get comfortable, which won’t happen until they have been there a few times.” Cunha is pleased with the development of his passing game as directed by junior Nick Blaser. “He was very composed and very poised,” Cunha said. “He played well beyond his years. We had five or six guys catch multiple balls and our protection was very good.” The Tiger head man knows his team will have its hands full on both sides of the ball against a Pleasant Grove team that he calls the most athletic of the teams they have had to date. Oakmont A hard-luck loss at Foothill puts the Vikings at 0-1 heading into their home opener this week. For Moore, and Oakmont graduate who is in his first year as the head coach at his alma mater, it will be another exciting moment. “It was amazing,” Moore said in discussing his first game as the head coach. “I felt very honored to be in this position. We did what we needed to be in a position to win the game, and the kids played hard.” The Vikings continue the final phase of a transition to the spread offense, a change that began a year ago when Moore was the offensive coordinator as they move on to host Pitman. “We want to spread teams out and let our players be more athletic,” Moore said. “It allows us to be better as a situational offense.” Granite Bay The Grizzlies change the faces, but just keep rolling on. An impressive win over one of the Bay Area’s best teams, Pittsburg, set the stage for this week’s matchup with Burbank, a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II finalist last season. “These Burbank guys can close the deal,” said Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper. “We set our non-league schedule to make sure we see speed every week, and we will definitely see that again this week. They have played two good teams, with things not going their way, so we need to match their enthusiasm.” Cooper’s team was most impressive last week in its ability to control its emotions when all 22 starters were new to the first unit. “Our guys worked hard in the off-season,” Cooper said. “The effort was not a surprise. We were jacked up to play but not so high to not play well. We found out that we can hang in there and finish a game.” Friday night football this week: Roseville vs. Pleasant Grove, 7:30 p.m. Granite Bay vs. Burbank, 7:30 p.m. Oakmont vs. Pitman, 7:30 p.m. Woodcreek at Placer, 7:30 p.m. Valley Christian at Woodland Christian, Sat., 1 p.m.