It isn't just a football game that unfolds on Friday nights in Loomis, rooted in the heart of Placer County.
It's a festival.
On homecoming night with scores of future players bearing youth jerseys running routes behind the end zone, the snack bar clogged with patrons seemingly stretched into the adjacent fields and a spirited rooting section aptly called "The Black Hole," No. 6 Del Oro put the finishing touches on a perfect evening with a 24-14 victory over fellow Sac-Joaquin Section powerhouse St. Mary's of Stockton.
The Golden Eagles celebrated the 50th anniversary of its home field to the day with a rousing effort by a throwback runner who seemingly stepped right out of 1963 Loomis. Dylan Kainrath rushed 30 times for 211 yards with touchdown runs of 1, 61 and 57 yards and the defense held the prolific Rams on downs four times, three in the fourth quarter, to delight an announced crowd of 5,100.
Kainrath has paid his dues. The 6-foot, 185-pound senior was a reserve last season who kept the Golden Eagles' running game in gear at midseason in place of hobbled Brandon Monroe, who returned down the stretch and was named The Bee's Player of the Year.
Now competing at San Jose State on scholarship, Monroe was on hand as the Spartans had a bye. He grinned in approval as Kainraith showed power with between-the-tackles runs and burst in pulling away on two scoring runs.
No run was more significant than his last attempt with 2:09 left, when Kainrath took off untouched for the clinching score that came after a Golden Eagles stoppage on downs.
Kainrath is called "Princess" by team trainers, all in good nature, but there's nothing soft about his tough-guy football approach. He has endured a sore shoulder and a bad knee, yet refused to take a break.
"Very tough kid, a state-level wrestler who understands playing in pain," Del Oro coach Casey Taylor said. "He leaves it out there on the field. He's smart, he has deceptive speed, and he understands what we're trying to do as a physical, downhill runner."
Said Kainraith of the night: "This was huge. Hands down, I can't do this without our offensive line."
That line, battered and bruised itself this season, consists of Tanner Woods, Emileo Campos, Brandon Johnson, Henry Moreno and Marco Giambruno and tight end Tyler Meteer.
Del Oro's defense was headed by linebacker Meteer and defensive end Woods. Justin Burrage had an interception, Travos Newman recovered a fumble, and the Golden Eagles shut out the Rams in the second half.
All told, no one could blame St. Mary's and coach Tony Franks, a former UC Davis assistant, for being just about fed up with Del Oro. The Golden Eagles (3-2) are 4-0 against St. Mary's (3-2) under Taylor, including playoff wins in 2009 and last season.
At halftime, Del Oro's 50-man band delivered a rousing light show under the leadership of director Ben Duncan and drum major Jessica DuPriest. "The Black Hole" leaders Isaac Jorgensen (he of the eye black), Taylor Forestel and Ben Goodkin led rally chants. Del Oro principal Dan Gayaldo walked the grounds in a black Del Oro T-shirt.
Meteer said the key to Del Oro's success is players who have grown up through the system.
"It's a great program, and a great community and school," Meteer said. "A lot of us have played football here since the fifth grade. We live for this."
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD. Joe Davidson and Mike Finnerty will break down high school football from 9 to 10 a.m. today on ESPN1320 (linked later to ESPN1320.net).