Trojans are league champs

By: Matt Long
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The first goal Oak Ridge High’s varsity football team had this season, winning the Sierra Valley Conference, has been accomplished. The Trojans claimed their first outright league title since 2004 with a win over Galt on Friday, couple with Vista del Lago’s loss to Union Mine. Win or lose on Friday against rival Ponderosa, the league title belongs to Oak Ridge. The Trojans, however, have no intent on taking Friday’s game likely. Not only is the team’s undefeated league record and six-game winning streak on the line, but it’s also a game against their biggest rival, who crushed them 61-35 a year ago. “The league championships is the starting place for us and the way we did that was by taking it one game at a time,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “Even though the title is our, we’re still focusing on beating Ponderosa. It’s a game that we’ve had on our calendar a week short of a year and I’m sure we’ll be highly-spirited and ready to play.” The Bruins have found the going tough this season, as they enter the game with a 2-3 league record and a 3-6 mark overall. But in a rivalry game such as this, records can be tossed out the window. “Their record might not indicate it, but they’re a strong team,” Cavaliere said. “Lyndell Scarr is a big weapon and he’s getting healthier every week. You can see that on film and you can see that in his numbers. I have a feeling that they’re going to play their best game of the year.” In last Friday’s 51-24 win over Galt, Jordan Matanane rushed for 204 yards and scored five touchdowns in leading the Trojans to the big win on the road. Quarterback Connor Benander completed 11-of-16 passes for 180 yards and one touchdown, while Robbie Beyer caught six passes for 86 yards. The defense also found the end zone on Friday, as Dustin Fretwell picked up a fumbled ball and returned it 51 yards for a score. "Galt came out early and controlled the clock, but we adjusted and our offense scored almost every time they had the ball," Cavaliere said. "Defensively, we held them to only one touchdown in the second half." The Warriors took an early 3-0 lead, but the first of Matanane's five touchdowns, followed later by a 34-yard field goal by Beyer, put Oak Ridge in front 10-3 after one quarter. The teams traded a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, Matanane scoring on a 65-yard run and Benander later finding Nick Buerki on a 29-yard score, and Oak Ridge held a 24-17 lead at halftime. The second half, however, belonged to Oak Ridge and the defense got it started with Fretwell's fumble recovery for a touchdown. Leading 31-17 after three quarters, the Trojans and Matanane found the end zone three more times on short runs, as Oak Ridge pulled away for the convincing victory. "Jordan's an amazing back," Cavaliere said. "We're fortunate to have two backs in Jordan and Jacob Allen, who we can give the ball to 30 times a game and can carry the load."