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Woodcreek picks off Vikings

By: Kurt Johnson, Press-Tribune sports editor
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Creating turnovers was not something the Woodcreek High School football team excelled at during their frustrating 2007 campaign, but if Friday night’s game at Oakmont is any indication, times are changing on the west side of Roseville. Woodcreek intercepted five passes Friday in a 42-12 victory over the Vikings. With interceptions on Oakmont’s first three offensive possessions, the Timberwolves built a lead despite not moving the ball well with their own offensive unit during the first 24 minutes. Fittingly, Woodcreek lit up the scoreboard first with a defensive touchdown. With Oakmont biting off chunks of yardage on the ground on its first offensive sequence, linebacker Kevin Tyus stepped in front of a pass from Viking quarterback Matt Ewing and took it back 55 yards for the game’s initial score. Interceptions by defensive backs Austin Tafoya and Brad Bastian shut down the next two Oakmont possessions with thefts of Viking passes deep in Woodcreek’s end of the field as the 7-0 lead held up through the end of the opening period. In the second quarter, the Vikings put together a nine-play 69-yard scoring march that ended on a 13-yard touchdown toss from Ewing to tight end Craig Morris. Woodcreek scored on a keeper by quarterback Tommy Murphy just before intermission to take a 14-6 halftime lead, and then Murphy found receiver Thomas Sandoval behind the Oakmont defense for a 56-yard scoring pass on its first possession after the break. Oakmont battled hard despite playing in an uphill battle all night long. The Viking defense bottled up Woodcreek runner James Nunley for most of the night, with linebacker Scott Schwieger delivering some outstanding hits on the star runner. Nunley managed to pick up 83 yards on his 16 carries for that night, but did most of his damage came in the second half. “We recommitted ourselves at halftime after feeling we could have done more with the ball in the first half,” Hildebrand said. “Oakmont has a lot of talent, and we needed to work harder to get our running game going, and that opened up the passing.” It was a tough night for the Vikings, who moved the ball reasonably well but were unable to finish off drives, turning the ball over instead. Despite the loss, Oakmont coach Dale Mortensen was looking forward to getting back to work in preparation for next week. “These are great kids,” Mortensen said after the game. “I love spending time with them every day. I am committed to doing a better job getting them ready to play next week.” Bastian’s second interception of the night ended one Oakmont drive, and another never got started, as the Vikings began a late third quarter set in the shadow of their own goal post, only to have Tyus strike again, picking off a pass at the five and taking it in for six points. A late touchdown on a Ewing to Michael Monetti pass play gave the Vikings their final six points, as Oakmont falls to 0-2 in Sierra Foothill League play (2-5 overall), and will next host Rocklin next Friday night. The win propels Woodcreek into a first-place tie with Granite Bay at 2-0 in SFL play, and the Timberwolves are now 4-3 overall.