Del Oro downs Oak Ridge in key Sierra Foothill League game
The special-teams coach has a Fu Manchu and charges up and down the sideline like a man unglued.
The defensive coordinator sports a hearty thatch of a chin growth and fumes up and down the sideline, hugging helmets and imploring effort loudly and with plenty of spittle.
And the Del Oro High School football players that Bill Sherman and his bearded buddy Josh Parry supervise make it a habit of covering all angles of the field, seemingly in fast-forward motion.
Friday night in Loomis was a night for the defense and special teams, and the offense was equally on pace, leading to a 56-21 rout for the No. 2 Golden Eagles over No. 6 Oak Ridge in a key Sierra Foothill League game expected to be a great deal more competitive.
Sherman nearly jumped out of his skin in watching Johnny Guzman sprint down the Del Oro sideline for kickoff-return scores of 99 and 95 yards. Guzman goes by “Rocket” for obvious reasons, and he has now scored five special-teams touchdowns this fall, including four of 94 or more yards.
“Johnny’s awesome,” Del Oro coach Jeff Walters said. “When ball is up in the air, if it’s in play, we know he has a chance. I’m super proud of this team. We’re playing well.”
Del Oro stormed to a 48-7 lead midway through the third quarter to move to 7-0 on the season. The Golden Eagles stand with top-ranked Folsom as the SFL’s lone league unbeatens. Those teams meet in Loomis in Week 10, presumably to decide the league champion.
Sherman was The Bee’s 2005 Defensive Player of the Year who went on to play at Sacramento State. He said he gets a kick out of coaching returns, or coaching anything at his alma mater.
Guzman, a swift 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior has also scored on two receptions and an interception return this season. He is inspired by his grandmothers - 91-year-old Maria Guzman, who regularly goes to the gym, and 75-year-old Suzanne Krause, who dances in the stands.
The Del Oro defense smothered an Oak Ridge team known for its prolific attack. Del Oro allowed two offensive touchdowns, the second — a touchdown pass from Matt Jenner — when the game was well out of hand.
The defensive unit is led by Parry, the one-time Philadelphia Eagles fullback who coaches every possession as if it’s his last. Walters has raved about his staff, saying, “We have a great group and a great group of guys to coach.”
Del Oro’s balance and defensive tenacity has made it a difficult team to face. The Golden Eagles received touchdown runs of 5 and 2 yards from Aiden Foster, a 6-yard score from Sheldon Conde and touchdown strikes of 55 and 25 yards from Carson Jarratt to Dawson Hurst and Matt Smart, respectively.
Del Oro returned 17 starters from a squad that reached the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II finals last season, the program’s 18th appearance since 1989.
“We have a lot of experience and it shows,” Hurst said.
Del Oro is also known for its cozy home setting, as good as it gets in the section with overflow crowds, a raucous student rooting section and band.
Before the game, the Fletcher family served as the honorary crew for the coin toss. John Fletcher, the beloved Del Oro coach in the 1980s and ‘90s, died last month at 68 after a long battle with cancer.
His co-coach during a 15-year championship run was Bob Christiansen, who also attended Friday’s game. Christiansen later served as Del Oro’s principal. The current principal is Dan Gayaldo, who was close friends with Fletcher, saying Friday, “a special man.”