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Whitney to host Foothill Friday in first round of football playoffs

By: Todd Mordhorst Gold Country News Service
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Whitney High’s varsity football team, undefeated at 10-0, will host Foothill in the first-round of the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division IV playoffs Friday. The Wildcats won the Pioneer Valley League (6-0) while Foothill (2-8, 2-3) tied for third place in the Capital Valley Conference but won a tiebreaker over Center to reach the playoffs. The winner will play the second-place team from the Valley Oak League (Sierra) or Capital Valley Conference (Rio Linda) on Nov. 28. It would be a home game for Whitney. The winner of that game will play in the DIV finals at UOP in Stockton at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5. Foothill has beat West Campus (27-20) and Center (6-0) this season and lost to Oakmont (14-6), Natomas (38-37), Pioneer (21-16), Bella Vista (27-10), Casa Roble (45-6), River City (24-14), Rio Linda (29-6) and Dixon (18-10). Friday’s kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Visiting Whitney turned five Placer turnovers into four touchdowns and finished off an undefeated regular season with a 34-12 victory in Auburn Friday night. The Wildcats clinched their first outright PVL football championship in just their third season with varsity sports. “To be undefeated, win the league title, it’s great,” said Whitney senior Nick Law, who led a defense that held Placer to just 187 total yards. “We prepare really good. We knew exactly what they were going to do and we were able to execute and stop it.” The Hillmen could not stop Zack Graves. The senior rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries. The Wildcats pulled away in the second half after leading 13-12 at the break. Jake Snyder made a beautiful 29-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Charlie Hetland to make it 20-12. Graves fumbled on Whitney’s next possession but Placer immediately gave the ball back on a fumble, which was scooped up by Ryan Sowma. The Wildcats sealed up the win with two more touchdowns from Graves. The second one was set up by a Law fumble recovery. “We pride ourselves in being a second-half team,” Snyder said. “We try to keep a lot of energy the entire game while the other team is tiring out.” Whitney senior Taylor Irwin picked off a Matt Ross pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring in the first half. But Placer senior Blake Schaffer took the ensuing kickoff back 91 yards down the Whitney sideline for a game-tying touchdown. With the Hillmen up 12-6 in the second quarter, Whitney senior Ryan Schermerhorn picked off a pass near midfield. The Wildcats cashed in with Graves’ seven-yard touchdown run 24 seconds before halftime.