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Ponderosa upsets No. 13 Jesuit in football

Published: Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2C

It only seemed as if the ground shook in Carmichael on Saturday when Ponderosa coach Jason Tenner joyfully bearhugged Bruins star Jeff Camilli into the air near midfield after their team's 17-3 Delta River League win at No. 13 Jesuit.

The 6-foot-5 Tenner is a former college and professional football lineman who looks as if he can still bull-rush the quarterback. The 6-4, 245-pound Camilli, with his full beard and powerful build, looks as if he's already a college middle linebacker and fullback.

The two monsters of muscle and physicality have been through a lot in the past three seasons.

There were the back-to-back 2-8 seasons in 2010 and 2011. There was the two-year, 0-10 run in the powerhouse Division I league that includes No. 4 Oak Ridge, No. 5 Folsom and No. 10 Pleasant Grove.

So beating – in fact dominating in the second half – a ranked Marauders team (4-2) is a huge statement triumph for the Shingle Springs bunch. They are 5-1 and within one win of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2007.

"People haven't been expecting a whole lot out of us, so I challenged this group back in January to commit," said Tenner, an all-Atlantic 10 Conference defensive lineman at Villanova who played with the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe. "It's been a tough battle every year in the DRL, but our kids have never quit. They're fighters. I'm proud of them. I'm a proud father."

Added Camilli: "I can't even tell you how it feels – I almost teared up before jumping in Tenner's arms. We've been through a lot."

Ponderosa forced four turnovers – interceptions by Alex Roberds and Camilli and fumble recoveries by Christian Canepa and Aaron Jestice – sacked Jesuit quarterback Thomas Sperbeck twice, and never allowed one of the Sac-Joaquin Section's best playmakers to find the end zone.

Leading the way was the imposing Camilli, who helped turn a 3-0 Jesuit halftime lead into a 17-3 Ponderosa advantage late in the third quarter.

His interception on the second play of the second half set up Curtis Goldsmith's game-tying 36-yard field goal. He then cleared a path to the end zone for Canepa's one-yard touchdown run five minutes later before mowing down several Jesuit defenders en route to a 10-yard touchdown run of his own with 2:17 to go in the same period.

Throughout the warm afternoon, Camilli delivered a number of freight-train hits, knocked down several passes and rushed for a deceptively impressive 46 yards on nine carries, some in which several Jesuit tacklers rode him like a bucking bronc.

"He's just a man – he's our man, and I love it," Tenner said.

The hard-hitting ways and impressive physique – and the beard – have earned Camilli the nickname "The Viking."

But the beard has gotten a lot more slim and trim lately.

"It got pretty dirty – my girlfriend didn't like that," said a smiling Camilli, who has scholarship offers from Fresno State, Nevada, San Jose State and Colorado State.

In Metro Conference games:

No. 3 Burbank 67, Florin 12 at Burbank – Junior Calvin Green returned an interception for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown and rushed for two touchdowns as the Titans (6-0, 3-0) defeated the Panthers (1-5, 1-2).

Sacramento 52, Hiram Johnson 14 in Oak Park – Josiah Johnson completed 17 of 21 passes for 438 yards and six touchdowns as the Dragons (4-2, 2-1) defeated the Warriors (1-5, 0-3).

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