This is the sixth in a series of posts comparing two local rivals who both may be toward the top of the preseason state football rankings. We’ll write up what we think these teams will be like heading into the season, then we hope to see what their fans have to say through comments, reaction.
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What The Teams Accomplished Last Season: Del Oro’s outstanding season saw the Golden Eagles capture the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship and then beat Serra of San Mateo to earn a trip down to Carson to play in the CIF Division I Bowl Game where they lost to Bakersfield. Coach Casey Taylor’s Golden Eagles ended 13-3 despite starting 1-2 with a 12-game win streak. The Grizzlies went 8-4 and finished in third place in league play behind the Golden Eagles and Rocklin before their season ended in the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs with a loss to Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills. One key win during the season came at Pittsburg.Shapshot of Del Oro: The Golden Eagles have almost become automatic to write down before the season starts for at least 10 wins. Despite an often brutal schedule, they have won at least 10 games in eight of the last 10 seasons but they will need some players to step up on offense this year since they were led by some talented seniors last season. Among those Del Oro loses due to graduation are QB Michael Moore (who passed for over 2,500 yards last season); RB Dylan Kainrath (2,000 yds rushing, 27 TDs); and leading wide receiver and tackler Tyler Meteer. Senior RB Tevon Ryhne had a good start to the season last year, but it ended early with a broken ankle. He could be the key player on offense along with junior WR Trey Udoffia, who will catch passes from whoever ends up taking snaps behind center. The Golden Eagles lose lots on defense up front, but return junior DB Justin Burrage, who had seven interceptions.
Shapshot of Granite Bay: The easy place to start with involving the Grizzlies is the return of head coach Ernie Cooper to the sidelines. He returns after taking last season off after leading them to the CIF Division I state championship in 2012. With some of the key players from last season on offense gone, including QB Josh Neal, Granite Bay’s success could come down to the defense, which is led by senior LB Cameron Smith, who has committed to USC and has been a standout on their team since his sophomore season. Finishing last season just one tackle behind Smith was senior LB Drew Tonda. It’ll be one of the top linebacking duos in Northern California.
More Top Players for Del Oro: Jr. DB/RB Dominic Pericin; Sr. QB/DB Logan Hurst; Sr. TE/LB Jacob Nolan.
More Top Players for Granite Bay: Sr. FB Kirk McKeon; Sr. LB Mitchell Morse; Sr. DL Eric Jarvis; Sr. DB Tre Ball; Sr. LB Atman Mizani; Sr. OL Steven Ponzo.
Recent History Between These Two: The two teams have alternated wins the last three seasons with Granite Bay last winning back in 2012 to end a three game head to head winning streak by the Golden Eagles. Del Oro won last year’s Sierra Foothill League game between the two, 30-28.
Hunch As To Where Each Team Should Be Ranked In The Preseason: Neither one is going to be picked to win the SFL title, but that has more to do with Folsom coming into the fold due to realignment than with rebuilding. Based on the early schedule, with Del Oro playing Kamehameha of Hawaii and Helix of La Mesa in its first two games as part of the terrific Honor Bowl series, it probably makes more sense to start out the Golden Eagles higher than Granite Bay. Del Oro seems possible in the 20 to 30 range. Granite Bay is likely further down from 40 to 50 or on the bubble for 50.
Next Preseason Duel: Mater Dei (Santa Ana) vs. Servite (Anaheim).