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November 17, 2012

Del Oro stays alive

Del Oro started the year 0-4, needed two wins at the end of regular season to make the postseason and were seeded No. 15 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs. However with a 21-10 win over St. Mary's-Stockton, the Golden Eagles now advance to the section semi-finals as the two-time SJS Division III champions.

On the first possession of the night, the Rams marched down the field on a 66 yard drive that took 11 plays just to be denied at the one yard line on a fourth down quarterback sneak. Del Oro took over at that point and went 99 yards. The last 65 yards came on a sweep to Brandon Monroe, which was just the beginning of huge night.

After the Rams fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give Del Oro a short field, their defense stiffened and on fourth and six, Del Oro head coach Casey Taylor dialed up a halfback pass that was just overthrown to a wide open receiver.

After a series of stops, the Rams again were on the move and had first and goal from the two. They had to settle though for a 21 yard field goal by Sawyer Hicks to make it 7-3. Later, the Rams went 55 yards with quarterback Kaleb Parrish running it in from six yards out to make the halftime score 10-7.

On their second possession of the second half, the Golden Eagles turned to Monroe, who took it 32 yards for a touchdown to put Del Oro ahead 14-10. They closed out the scoring with a third scoring run by Monroe from 11 yards out to close the third quarter.

In what might have been the most impressive drive of the night, Del Oro went 13 plays for 68 yards in the second half. It didn't end in a score, but took more than seven minutes off the clock and all but closed out the Rams ability to come back.

Del Oro on offense is well coached and play to its strengths, that is a stretch play to Monroe behind a big, physical offensive line. The Golden Eagles come out in unbalanced looks which overload the point of attack and then use Monroe's ability to be patient and read blocks, make one cut and run downhill.

On Friday, Monroe had 298 yards on 38 carries and also had 36 yards receiving. Taylor after the game said "not only is [Monroe] a great player on the field but he's a team player and very humble". Taylor also noted that after Monroe got only 18 touches in a loss to Granite, it became a point of emphasis to get him more regular touches.

Also standing out for Del Oro was center Brandon Johnson, who anchors the line play and showed the ability to engage the defense and sustain his block. Quarterback Zach Labar played the best game we've seen in four viewings this year as he handled the ball well on fakes to get outside and make plays to move the chains. He also had the hit of the night on kickoff coverage.

On defense Del Oro played to keep everything in front of them and not get beat deep as the Rams have big play potential. The line is anchored by Tanner Woods, who plays the run and the pass equally well.

St. Mary's was hampered tonight with the injury to Brian Pascual (one of their junior playmakers) but still moved the ball on occasion. The Rams run a read option with Parrish, who showed the toughness to run for yardage as well as throw the ball with accuracy. Del Oro did a good job of pressuring the pass while at the same time forcing the Rams to be patient and grind out long drives.

Next up for Del Oro will be a trip to Elk Grove, who defeated Del Campo 35-14. It should be a battle fought on the ground as both teams boast strong running attacks.


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