Del Oro High School football coach Casey Taylor prefers that his Golden Eagles play a rigorous schedule.
Taylor lines up powerhouse programs to test the ability and resilience of his team and coaching staff, and the tough scheduling has paid off with two CIF State Bowl appearances since 2011, the most by any area program. Grant, Rocklin, Granite Bay and Folsom each have played in one bowl, with Grant winning in 2008, Folsom in 2010 and Granite Bay in 2012.
Del Oro, ranked seventh by The Bee this week, lost to Kamehameha of Honolulu 25-17 and Helix of La Mesa 34-10 to open the season. The Golden Eagles won Saturday, beating Vista Murrieta, California’s 15th-ranked team, 22-15. Quarterback Logan Hurst connected with wide receiver Trey Udoffia for touchdown passes of 66 and 47 yards, and Udoffia scored on a 55-yard interception return.
Friday, Del Oro hosts De La Salle, the state’s No. 2 team.
“Are we better off being 3-0 with a soft schedule or 1-2 against what we’ve played?” Taylor said. “I’m not into pretending how good we are. We’ve had a lot of success getting to the state bowl, but we’ve lost those games, and until we can start beating those kinds of teams in early games, we won’t win a state title. We don’t want a false sense of how good we are. We need to find out.”
But, as Taylor pointed out, in the three games, “we’ve seen five Division I college linemen, three Division I linebackers, three Division I receivers, two Division I quarterbacks. Great players. You get better playing the best.”
De La Salle has won 252 consecutive games against Northern California schools since 1991 and has not lost to a Sac Joaquin Section school, including victories over Folsom in the past two Northern California Open championship games, Del Oro 41-3 last September and Jesuit 63-0 at Cal to open this season.
“De La Salle is the standard,” Taylor said. “Against them, it’s winning plays, putting plays and drives together. What teams have a hard time with against De La Salle – and we’ve experienced it – is you have a bad six minutes and get down so fast, and it’s over. You want to make it a game until the fourth quarter, and anything can happen. We can’t break the streak unless (we) play them, but they’re so impressive.”
After starting at quarterback last season and early this season, Jackson has been moved to running back to open up the offense, and the 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior rushed for 101 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday’s 43-3 rout of Casa Grande in Petaluma.
Jacob Lopez took over at quarterback and passed for 117 yards and ran for a touchdown, and linebacker Reid Abshear had four sacks.
No. 10 Franklin has a bye this week before its Delta League opener against No. 4 Grant on Sept. 26.
• Golden Sierra, 3-0 after outscoring opponents 145-6, will have its first real test at Colfax on Friday. Brenden Nutt and Christian Klahn are averaging 244 rushing yards for Golden Sierra, which has the smallest enrollment (438) among public schools in the region.
• Parker Boone had two interceptions in top-ranked Folsom’s 56-6 win over No. 17 Pleasant Grove.
• Jesuit’s Isaiah Bailey made a one-handed catch of a pass from Cole Brownholtz to score a touchdown in the Marauders’ 48-21 Holy Bowl win over Christian Brothers.