The first week in October brought a flurry of activity and excitement for many middle and elementary school athletes in El Dorado County. The girls volleyball and flag football tournaments, along with a big cross country meet, involved more than 1,100 students competing for their schools.
The girls volleyball tournaments were hosted by the Union Mine girls volleyball program. The seventh-graders competed in the morning and early afternoon. Four teams remained after several hours of pool play and an opening round of playoffs.
Golden Hills outlasted Camino in one semi-final, while Herbert Green squeaked by Sierra Ridge in three nail-biting sets. Hard-serving Herbert Green won the championship game over Golden Hills, which had little energy left after the battle with Camino.
Pool play in the eighth-grade tournament later in the afternoon was just as spirited. It’s clear the athletes’ respective future high schools will benefit from an infusion of talented players next fall.
Four teams advanced to the semi-finals in the evening: Herbert Green squared off against Camino and Northside battled Sierra Ridge. Herbert Green showed why it was the top seed by defeating Camino in two sets.
The other match was another matter. Northside and Sierra Ridge served, returned, spiked, set and dug with equal fervor for three long sets. In the end, Northside hung on to just barely edge Sierra Ridge and earn a spot in the championship match against Herbert Green.
Once again the fight to get to the finals took its toll as the tired Northside team had no answer for Herbert Green’s level of play. Serving hard, spiking with power and accuracy, and returning most everything hit at them, Herbert Green’s girls swept two sets to win the title.
Gray, threatening skies greeted the 863 runners from grades three through eight who competed in 10 separate races at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in the cross country finals. The skies opened up just as the last race ended — a lucky afternoon for the runners, fans, timers and starters. Individual and team results will appear separately.
Players in the seventh- and eighth-grade flag football tournaments at Pleasant Valley Middle School survived rain and mud with a little hail thrown in. It was a day the kids and spectators won’t forget.
Camino’s seventh-grade team defeated Georgetown, 21-0, and beat Herbert Green, 25-6 , to reach the championship game. On the other side of the bracket Sierra Ridge drew a bye then edged Pleasant Valley 20-14 in the slop.
The championship game was mostly the Fernando Esparza story. Esparza, Camino’s quarterback, scored on a 2-yard dash after a long drive to give Camino a 6-0 lead. The lead held until the fourth quarter when Sierra Ridge quarterback Christian Grier connected with Bill Bumbaca on a 15-yard pass to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Grier hit Bumbaca with another touchdown pass in the overtime period but Esparza answered with a 5-yard run to retie the game. Grier took it into the end zone on a keeper to return the lead to Sierra Ridge in the next period but Sierra Ridge couldn’t stop Esparza, who rambeled for two touchdown runs of 12 and 7 yards, respectively, to give Camino the title.
Herbert drew a bye in the first round of the eighth-grade tournament and made it into the finals via a forfeit, leaving the team rested and mud free. On the other side of the bracket, Pleasant Valley rolled over California Montessori Project 34-6 the first day. The team came back and conquered the mud and Camino in a very tough 13-0 semi-final victory.
The skies cleared for the championship game but that was no help to Pleasant Valley. Herbert Green’s defense took command early and wouldn’t allow Pleasant Valley’s offense to get going. The Miner offense scored three times for a convincing 21-0 win.
A long pass from Brody Pearman to Bradley Britain set up Jeremy Dupras’ touchdown run for the first score. Pleasant Valley’s defense stiffened for the rest of the first half, but in the third quarter Pearman ran back a punt nearly to the end zone and scored several plays later on an 8-yard run.
Another long pass to Dupras in the fourth quarter and Pearman’s 1-yard plunge capped the Herbert Green scoring. The crown went to the Miners, the sun was out and everyone enjoyed a pleasant end to a long tournament week.