Mike Dimino had no idea just how good his Del Campo football team was. Blasting your first four opponents by a combined score 165-20 can give you a false sense of security.
“We haven’t had the competition in our schedule like Whitney has, so we truly haven’t been tested,” the coach said Friday before the Cougars hosted Whitney. “This will be out first true test.”
Del Campo, The Bee’s 15th-ranked team, passed with flying colors with a 30-17 victory over the No. 18 Wildcats in a Capital Valley Conference contest, and Dimino now knows his squad is pretty darn good.
Greg Cabral and Levi Markey were a bruising tandem for the Cougars, who are 2-0 in the CVC. Cabral ran for 130 yards on 24 carries while Markey had 95 yards in 17 attempts. Markey scored on a 10-yard run in the third quarter that gave Del Campo a 20-7 lead and a boost of momentum.
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“Markey is only a junior and he’s a very good back, already,” said Tyler Dimino, the coach’s son and Del Campo’s quarterback. “But I have to give credit to our offensive line. They’re very good and very experienced. We’ll be good.”
Dimino was helped off the field early in the second quarter, favoring is left ankle. But he started the second half and led two scoring drives in the third quarter, albeit on a heavily taped and gimpy wheel.
“This is out first time ever beating them, so I had to step up,” Dimino said. “I couldn’t let them go down. I had to lead them to victory.”
Marshaun Hunter led the Cougars’ defense, which has equal billing with the offense, having now held five teams to a combined 37 points. Hunter, a senior outside linebacker, picked off Wildcats quarterback Preston Eklund in the flat and sprinted 11 yards for a touchdown with less than two minutes left in the first half. Hunter followed that up with a sack. Eklund was sacked four times for minus-19 yards, and those came at key times to stall drives.
“I saw (Eklund) shifting his eyes and I knew (Nick Eaton) was a favorite target, so when he came at me and started playing patty cake, I had to shake him off, and I knew the ball was coming,” Hunter said of his interception. “Our defense really toughened up tonight.”
Two weeks ago the defense was promised a tri-tip meal for blocking a punt against Vanden. If a special teams play garners a fine meal of medium rare meat, Hunter was asked what kind of gastronomical delights a 10-0 regular season may earn.
“Oh, 10-0 and we are having a full dinner, we are eating good,” Hunter said. “That’s like a seven-course meal.”
The Cougars are halfway there. They’re past the appetizers and are in the middle of the CVC main course. Coach Dimino also knows his squad is hungry.
Mark Billingsley is a Carmichael-based freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @editorwriter001.