Trojans, community fired up for season

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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Hundreds of high school football fans crowded into the El Dorado Hills Town Center on Saturday for the second Meet the Trojans event. The varsity football squad entered the event promptly at 4 p.m. through the large inflatable Trojans football helmet, which was set up next to the lake at the Steven Young Amphitheater. Head Coach Eric Cavaliere, the Oak Ridge cheerleaders and the Jr. Trojans football program joined the celebration alongside the 54 varsity players. Last year’s inaugural event welcomed a few hundred fans from the El Dorado Hills community and a year later didn’t disappoint in its growth. After a trip to the postseason and a 7-4 record last season, the Trojans have steadily elevated their section rank to No. 12 and continued building a fan base eager to meet this year’s Trojans. “We’re here to create a little excitement for our season, to introduce our teams to the community and to get everyone together and say, “This is who we are, come out and check us out this year,” said Cavaliere. “We’re right where we should be and we’ve gotten a lot accomplished this summer.” Quarterbacks Jason Samuels (junior) and Frank Trifeletti (senior) were among their teammates at the event. Cavaliere said the potential starting quarterback position will likely fall to one of the two. On Wednesday the Trojans will put on the pads for the first time in the new season and both shared their excitement. “This is a great event for us to be able to meet the fans and get to know the community,” said Samuels. “We’ve really progressed and made tremendous strides as a team this summer. We’ve got three weeks until our first game. We’ll be ready.” “There are a lot more people here this year,” said Trifeletti, whose mother Dara Trifeletti, and other team mothers were instrumental in the organization of this year’s event. “It’s a good event to come to,” added Trifeletti. “Our team is a lot closer than we were last year. We went down to Fresno is June so our team is more than ready to throw on the pads at this point.” The Trojans travelled to Fresno State University in June as one of 24 high school teams to participate in an annual summer camp program. While running through the tunnel is fun for Xavier Lopez, a three-year varsity tight end and defensive tackle, he said this Trojan team is not about individuals. “It’s nice to be a part of and give back to the community,” said Lopez. “We’re here to show that the team is part of the community and that El Dorado Hills is our town too. We do have a lot of strong players, but we are not based on individual play. We’ve all been playing together since we were little kids.” In its second year, the Meet the Trojans event welcomed all five Jr. Trojan teams. Tim Rowen, Jr. Trojans vice president of football, and 200 young football players were scattered around the amphitheater. “We hope to gain community support and recognition for these kids,” said Rowen. “A lot of these young kids play football from age 6 up to 14 and then get ready for high school. Getting to hang out with these high school athletes is the equivalent of me getting to spend a day with the professionals. The kids have a great time with it and it lets them see what they’re working toward.” Matt Murphy, 10, plays on the Jr. Peewee team and walked in with his father Tom, mother, Cathy, and older sister Lizzy, 11. Matt just found out last night he made the team and his mother said this was a chance to celebrate. “This is his first year of tackle football, but he has played flag for three years. We’re here to just check out the Trojans and have some fun,” said Cathy. “Hopefully Matt will be playing when he gets to high school and he’ll warm up to it this way.” Booths were set up alongside the lake for participants to stroll through the event area, which was set up on both sides of Town Center Boulevard. Summer is nearly over for Oak Ridge athletes and Cavaliere said his team has enjoyed a productive summer. “You can do all kinds of things in T-shirts and shorts in the summer, but until you throw on those pads it’s tough to tell what’s going to happen,” said Cavaliere. “We’re looking at next week to answer a lot of questions.”