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Commentary: Past paves Trojan future

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From page A6 | December 09, 2013 | 7 Comments

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ERIC CAVALIERE has guided Oak Ridge into the section finals the last two years. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

SACRAMENTO — The bar’s been raised for Oak Ridge football, especially with a 24-4 record the past four seasons.

While in Division II, the Trojans won many Sierra Valley Conference titles and three consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section D-II banners between 2002 to 2004.

The Trojans were considered one of the section’s top D-II teams but toward the end of that decade, Oak Ridge began to see its season’s end before Thanksgiving with first round playoff exits, including 2010, its first in the D-I of the Delta River League. To Trojan head coach Eric Cavaliere, that was unacceptable.

“There was a point where we lost our way,” Cavaliere said.

Oak Ridge turned it around. A 2011 upset of Burbank on the Titans’ field in the first round preceded  back-to-back appearances in the section title game, something few section teams do.

Though Oak Ridge lost Saturday, the Trojans competed — leading once and twice trying the score before Folsom took command in the second half.

“Our team is close,” said Trojan wide receiver Justin Priest after the game. “Last year, getting to the championship game — that was one of the best things that probably happened to our team. We worked so hard during the offseason.”

The 2014 season, according to Oak Ridge junior Drew Lackowski, starts Monday in the weight room. Part of the future falls into the lap of Lackowski, plus sophomore quarterback Ian Book.

“He’s got 14 games under his belt,” Cavaliere said of Book. “He’s a seasoned veteran. Just to see his poise … we’re going to lean on him a lot next year.”

This year’s seniors have, according to Cavaliere, put the program back on the winning track.

“They went after it full-steam ahead,” Cavaliere said. “They have put us back on track, as a football program, to where we need to be.”

In his post-game speech, Trojan defensive coordinator Darren Jonutz told returning players, “You follow the example of this senior class. I’m going to tell you right now: If you’re a junior or sophomore or freshmen, and you’re within the sounding of my voice, you’ve got a lot of work to do to live up to the example of the effort and the leadership of this senior class.”

Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or mbush@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter. 

Mike Bush

Mike Bush has been a Staff Writer at the Mountain Democrat since August 2011. Follow him on Twitter @MBushMtDemo
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Discussion | 7 comments

  • On Saturday night...December 08, 2013 - 9:52 am

    Before my husband left for the Oakridge football game last night at Sacramento State U. We both were watching the KCRA channel 3 news. We both got excited when we saw the coverage on the Division 1 big football game of Oakridge vs Folsom. Yet, as we both watched and listened to the KCRA 3 t.v. news people showing the complete coverage of the Folsom tailgating party for Folsom H.S., and interviewing ONLY the Folsom fans, Folsom parents, etc. My husband and I waited patiently for KCRA 3 news to began news coverage next for Oakridge H.S. football team, but as we both waited for our Oakridge fair side of the news coverage. Not happening! As we waited for KCRA 3 news to began speaking to Oakridge fans, Oakridge parents, etc., but sadly, it never happened! What's up with that!?!?! Even the Oakridge H.S. name was not even mentioned! No, not one time on the 6:00pm. news did they mention Oakridge. Only full coverage News for Folsom H.S. football pre-coverage of the game. Both our hearts were saddened. My husband then left for Sac. State to watch the game and be there to support our son and Oakridge. My husband left for the game shaking his head at such lousy biased based news coverage by KCRA 3 news. Yes, I am saddened too. Our son would have been disheartened too had he seen the one sided news coverage not playing fairly to Oakridge H.S. players and parents, etc. We have always taught our son's to be fair, play fair, and treat others fairly even if others don't play fair. Yet, KCRA 3 did not do their news time play coverage of the big game last night right or fair by Oakridge. Now it's time to teach our son's their next lesson as we talk through everything after the fact. The fact that adults do not always play fair. As with KCRA 3 and the 6:00 pm. news last night. I think though by H.S. my oldest 3 son's in high school and college already realize this sad fact about adults that need to grow up and play fair and cover the news on t.v. fairly. & We wonder why a large percentage of our young adult children are entering the "adult world/society" are struggling.

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  • EvelynDecember 08, 2013 - 10:03 am

    Saturday night: Sports seems very divorced from the concept (and practice) of good sportsmanship. The possibility of good sportsmanship was brought home to when living in a country where, despite fans having the normal team preferences, commonly applauded good play by both teams/any player. Such behavior here probably would lead to a lynching.

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  • Another Proud Trojan ParentDecember 09, 2013 - 5:23 pm

    I am not surprised at all about what you observed with KCRA as I am sure it was the same with the other local news outlets. I checked the MaxPreps photos today that were taken by their photographer and there were 207 of them and by my estimation about 30-40 photos were of Oak Ridge players. Everyone has drunk the Folsom kool-aid but not to worry. When they go down to DVC in Pleasant Hill next Saturday to play De La Salle it will be the exact opposite for them as the Spartans are kings down there and nobody is interested in the next team that will fall to them on their way to their next state open division title. De La Salle has not lost to a northern CA team since 1991 and I don't see any real possibility of that happening on Saturday. Folsom thinks they are elite and while they may be the best in the Sac area they don't even come close to comparing to a truly elite national powerhouse team like De La Salle. It will be just like it was last year when it looked like men playing against boys. Oak Ridge had an amazing season when nobody predicted they would win much less go to the section title game for a second consecutive year. Our boys need to be proud of their accomplishments.

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  • Derek BrewerDecember 09, 2013 - 11:06 pm

    Folsom is the best football team in the area....... if I had a son in the fight I would take him to Folsom to play football. I would not be a typical EDH's parent and complain- but be a frontrunner and go to Bulldog nation. If you can't beat them- join them!

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  • Brandon WilliamsDecember 10, 2013 - 4:58 am

    Mr. Brewer I hope you don't have kids and if you do, I hope you teach them the real meaning and importance of sports. What you just said is embarrassing.

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  • johnDecember 10, 2013 - 7:29 am

    As a former alumni of folsom all I have to say is you are mad that your sons can't win a damn section game for thier lives and I hope they never do. Don't bad mouth folsom on the internet saying we were men against boys last year because we worked our asses off to put on for sacramento. Preach sportsmanship yet your dishin dirt out yourself. We get more news coverage because we earn it pal

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  • Another Proud Trojan ParentDecember 10, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    John, apparently you didn't read the very story that you are commenting on: "While in Division II, the Trojans won many Sierra Valley Conference titles and three consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section D-II banners between 2002 to 2004. The Trojans were considered one of the section’s top D-II teams but toward the end of that decade, Oak Ridge began to see its season’s end before Thanksgiving". So as it appears Oak Ridge can win section titles. Where was Folsom during that time? Like Cordova of the 80's, Elk Grove of the 90's and Grant of the 2000's, Folsom is now expected to win and I am sure that will continue as they are very well coached and have a large selection of athletes to pull from as far away as Rancho Cordova and even some from Shingle Springs. After all why would a kid want to attend Cordova, Vista or even Ponderosa when they could go to Folsom and play for a winning team? Only time will tell how long Folsom's fortune will hang on but for now if they want to be the best they will have to play the best which is De La Salle. Alternatively you have Oak Ridge who gets little respect and they have to make do with the athletes surrounding the school living in El Dorado Hills. They have had a 12-2 record the last two years with trips to the D1 section title when in each of those years they were projected to be 5-5 then 4-6.

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