On Wednesday night, Joey Montoya ventured out to LeFebvre Stadium in Auburn and briefly looked up before turning away to shield his eyes from the glare.
The Placer High School coach nearly reached for sunglasses and sunscreen.
New stadium lights at a cost of $85,000 illuminate a field where for decades it was difficult for spectators to see who had the ball.
"There was a certain mystique to the old lights, to it being a little darker, especially running the wing-T (with deception and fakes)," said Montoya, a Placer alumnus and the Hillmen's coach since 2007. "But how can you turn away people from the community who want to help the school like this? Plus, now that (the lights are) in and I've seen what they look like, I realized what we were missing. They are great."
Placer got off to an uncharacteristic 1-4 start this fall as it replaced numerous starters from an 11-1 team. The Hillmen (3-4) have surged to a 2-0 start in the Pioneer Valley League, beating Foothill 56-14 and Bear River 49-7.
Halfback Todd Valliere, who has led the charge, could eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier tonight against rival Lincoln. He has 907 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The stadium is named after Ralph LeFebvre, a 1923 Placer graduate who taught and coached at his alma mater from 1944 until 1970, when the old lights were installed. His track teams, sometimes under those lights, won 123 out of 150 meets.
Small school, big pride Woodland Christian hosts Foresthill tonight in what amounts to the Sacramento Metro Athletic League championship game. And it'll be emotional.
Woodland Christian will hold its "Defeat Cancer" game, which coach Bruce Pielstick started last year.
Pielstick's wife and the school's principal, Lisa, is battling cancer. She was in the hospital for treatments last season at this time but was able to attend the halftime ceremony.
"She's the most amazing person I know," coach Pielstick said.
Rankings galore Folsom is ranked second in Northern California by MaxPreps and No. 3 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports. Elk Grove is ranked No. 4 in NorCal and Pleasant Grove No. 5 by MaxPreps. They are ranked No. 11 and 12, respectively, in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.
Statistically speaking Junior Matt Jimison of Vista del Lago has 27 touchdown passes and just two interceptions entering tonight's Sierra Valley Conference title showdown against Cosumnes Oaks.
Sophomore Caden Voges of Sacramento has thrown 13 touchdown passes and two interceptions in his past two games.
Andrew Brown leads the Sac-Joaquin Section in rushing with 1,416 yards and 27 touchdowns for Ripon Christian.
Will McClure of Folsom and Kyle Betts of Bradshaw Christian are tied for the section lead with 14 touchdown receptions. McClure rarely played as a reserve last season. Betts, a returning starter, also has rushed for five touchdowns and has six interceptions.
Jesse Clay of Lincoln and West Simpson of Sacramento are tied for the section lead with 16 sacks in seven games. They are tied for second in the state. Jalen Canty of St. Patrick-St. Vincent of Vallejo has 17 sacks in eight games.
Justice Shelton-Mosley of Capital Christian leads the area in interceptions (eight) and touchdowns (24). The junior has reached the end zone as a rusher and receiver, on special-team returns and on an interception return.
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